Skip to comments.Devastating losses for the Socialists (France)
Posted on 03/31/2014 11:37:49 AM PDT by Mount Athos
A CRUSHING defeat at French local elections has intensified pressure on François Hollande to reshuffle his government. At a second round of voting on March 30th, Mr Hollandes Socialist Party lost over 150 towns, most of them to the opposition centre-right. This morning, the French president was holed up at the Elysée, the presidential palace, consulting close advisers over reshuffle plans, which could be announced as early as today.
The Socialist losses were devastating. Although, as expected, the party hung on to Paris, where Anne Hidalgo becomes the capitals first female mayor, the rest of the country snubbed the ruling party. Among the more dramatic losses were Toulouse, a city in the south-west that it had thought was safe, Roubaix and Tourcoing, two industrial cities in the north with a deep left-wing heritage, and a string of other cities, including Amiens, Caen, Tours, Reims and Limoges, held by the left since 1912. Even some towns in the Paris region, which had been governed by Communist Party since the second world war, such as Villejuif, swung to the right.
The centre-right UMP was the primary beneficiary of this disillusion, and of a high abstention rate. Overall, the second-round result gave the combined mainstream right 46% of the vote, compared with 40% for the Socialists, Greens and other left-wing parties. This translates into 572 mayors for the right in towns of a population over 10,000, to 349 for the left, reversing the outcome in 2008. Jean-François Copé, the delighted head of the centre-right UMP party, called the result a blue wave.
The other second-round victor was Marine Le Pens populist National Front. To add to Hénin-Beaumont, a town that her party already won outright in a first-round vote on March 24rd, she picked up ten others. They include Fréjus and Béziers in the south, a string of smaller towns, and an arrondissement of Marseilles that represents fully 150,000 people. The only town that had looked winnable but which the National Front failed to grab in the end was Forbach, where her partys number two, Florian Philippot, was standing.
Although the overall second-round result gave the National Front only 7% of the countrywide vote, this crop of town halls is a historic result for Ms Le Pens party. In 1995, when the front was on the rise under her father, Jean-Marie, it won just three towns. Ms Le Pen has also secured over 1,200 municipal-council seats, giving her both a local base in which to anchor the party and a training ground to prepare National Front officials for future electoral contests. The front could well come top in elections to the European Parliament in May.
Unlike in the first round, when the government seemed only belatedly to grasp the scale of its losses, Jean-Marc Ayrault, the sitting prime minister, said this time that it was a moment of truth, and a clear defeat. In 2001, the Socialist Party tried to brush off a similar defeat at local elections by focusing attention on Paris, which it had captured from the right. A year later, the Socialists went on to lose their place in the run-off of the presidential election to Mr Le Pen. This time, Mr Hollande looks likely to acknowledge the disaster in a televised address, and pick a fresh team.
A new government could be announced this week, even today. It is likely to have fewer ministers, and to include some veterans, such as Ségolène Royal, Mr Hollandes former partner and a former defeated Socialist presidential candidate. The greatest difficulty will be finding the right prime minister. Neither of the two most obvious candidates to replace Mr Ayrault would be risk-free for Mr Hollande. Manuel Valls, the interior minister, a liberal, is distrusted by the partys left wing and the Greens, and has presidential ambitions of his own. Laurent Fabius, who held the job 30 years ago, is an old foe of Mr Hollandes so cohabitation between them could be stormy.
This is why speculation continues to return to the possibility that Mr Ayrault could keep the job, if some big names were brought in elsewhere. Pierre Moscovici, the finance minister, looks likely to be replaced. Among names circulating in Paris are that of Emmanuel Macron, Mr Hollandes economic adviser. The president is keeping his cards close to his chesthe is more secretive than even François Mitterrand, the previous Socialist president, says one former Mitterrand adviser. A surprise nomination cannot be ruled out.
The new government will not only face fresh electoral difficulty at European polls in May. Before that, in mid-April, France must submit its spending plans to the European Commission, and it has promised to spell out 50 billion ($69 billion) of public-spending savings in 2015-2017, including an extra 10 billion or so in a payroll-tax cut to companies as part of a job-creating responsibility pact. Whatever Mr Hollandes choice of government, its greatest challenge will be to explain to the left wing why its response to electoral defeat will be tax cuts for business and austerity.
Socialists control the schools so that people can forget how terrible they are and they can get elected every generation or so. If the schools taught factual history, they would never stand a chance, because they screw things up every single time.
I’d be curious to hear from somebody who knows French politics. I suspect that the French right is WAY far to the left of what most American would consider the right.
Call me pessimistic but this is a bump on the way down the hill not a turnaround...
Like skiing down a hill and hitting a bump that moves you upward into the air like a ski jump, you will hit the ground again soon, Europe is kaput.
So they lost to racist socialists.
Toulouse: Where a little girl was cornered and shot in the head by one of the socialist’s guests.
We don't even have crowds like that in the US. So, hey, the Revolutionary Powers back in the 1700s seemed extremely left wing but that is in the past and that was against Aristocracy. They aren't nearly as bad as they use to be, I think they take note of their errors.
I was amazed at the size of those protests.
Thanks Mount Athos.
> The centre-right UMP was the primary beneficiary of this disillusion, and of a high abstention rate. Overall, the second-round result gave the combined mainstream right 46% of the vote, compared with 40% for the Socialists, Greens and other left-wing parties. This translates into 572 mayors for the right in towns of a population over 10,000, to 349 for the left, reversing the outcome in 2008. Jean-François Copé, the delighted head of the centre-right UMP party, called the result a blue wave.
Can’t wait to see the same thing when we tell the American Marxist Party (formerly known as Democrats) and the Moderate Democrat Party (formerly known as Republicans) that they are fired with Tea Party members.
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