Day 12 – Rural France v Urban France. East v West.

A good summary from the BBC

Five things we have learned from Round 1

8 clever maps from Bloomberg

Well worth a glance at what you can do with some money … and they really DO have some money (plus clever folk too)

Great. Now the French get to be snooty about their polling

An article from the Washington Post explaining how the French polls got it so right

[The idea for all the above 3 links have been nicked from the always-readable Dave Pell’s Next Draft: well-written, punny and funny, usually commentary from the American press on Matters American from the ‘right’ perspective (for me), with lots on Trump]

Bad news

  • The idea that Le Pen would be one of the top 2 candidates was so utterly expected that it was only a relief that she wasn’t the winner.
  • In 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen got 16.9% in the 1st round; 10 years later his daughter got 17.9%; now she got 21.4% … much less than had seemed possible earlier when she was polling 30%, but that’s small consolation
  • On the basis of the votes cast on Sunday, Le Pen led in 216 of the 566 Parliamentary constituencies; she won 25-30% of the vote in 105 constituencies, and 30%+ in 83 constituencies; few FN candidates have her standing of course, but there could still be 100 Front National MPs in the next Parliament (says Le Monde)
  • A new Twitter hashtag #SansMoiLe7Mai: it possibly started as a Mélenchonite attempt to explain their extraordinary inability to separate Le Pen and Macron; it’s being pushed by RT (formerly Russia Today) which charmingly applauds those brave Mélenchonites who refuse to choose between Macron’s ‘neo-liberal fascism’ and Le Pen’s ‘fascism’ and will abstain in the 2nd Round
  • 2 days on, Mélenchon still can’t distinguish between Le Pen and Macron: he’s currently consulting his 440,000 members voting on (i) spoil ballot (ii) vote Macron (iii) abstain. Result Friday. BUT what % will take option (iv): vote Le Pen? 20%?
  • 10.2 million people didn’t vote: way more than those 8.65 Macron voters

Good news 

  • An unashamedly pro-EU candidate won the 1st round, despite so many Euro-sceptic (even Euro-phobic) opponents
  • In recent years the Front National presented themselves as France’s leading Party, following Euro/Region/Department Elections; that’s true no longer
  • The Républicain Mayor of Tourcoing tweeted to his fellow conservatives: ‘Imagine General de Gaulle abstaining when against Pétain?’
  • 56 French communes gave ZERO votes to Le Pen: here’s a report (in French) about Samaran, in the Gers, none of whose 88 inhabitants voted Le Pen
  • ‘A man nobody knew, a very young man [has won] … this is incredibly American, this is absolutely not French … That proves that France in a way, this evening, is less of a monarchy and more a democracy.’ (Duhamel, Sciences Po Paris University)
  • ‘We shouldn’t underestimate the capacity of resistance of other groups … which support more moderate parties … I think Macron’s success … indicates there are still very powerful forces in French society … [that] don’t want to go towards populist parties and really xenophobic positions,” (Dieckhoff, CEVIPOF Sciences Po)

News that each of you will work out from your individual perspectives as to its badness, goodness or utter indifferentness

  • For the first time since universal direct suffrage was introduced (1962) no candidate from the centre-Right will be in the 2nd round
  • In 2012, the Socialists had total political power in France: President, PM, Parliament, Senate, the vast majority of Regions and large towns. Last Sunday, Hamon got 6.3%, 5th place and Mélenchon even got more votes in Trappes, where Hamon’s the MP
  • With loadsa luck and cunning (‘There’s Clausewitz, Sun Tzu and Macron’ said Fauré, Socialist Parliamentary President) a 39-year-old, utterly unknown 3 years ago, can get to the Presidential run-off … in France … IN FRANCE!
  • ‘After 5 years of President Hollande, the Socialist Party doesn’t exist any more and the FN’s in the 2nd round of the Presidential Election. What a great outcome.’ (Anonymous Socialist MP)
  • After his surprise crushing victory in the Républicains Primary, Fillon was at 32% in the polls, the Left was utterly divided and Presidential victory was near-guaranteed. On Sunday he got 150,000 more votes than Mélenchon and 2.5 million less votes than Sarkozy in 2012’s Round 1 (‘[Fillon] transformed an unlosable Election into an unwinnable one’ said Hortefeux, ex-Minister)
  • Mélenchon went from 2012’s 11.1% to 19.6% (three times more than Hamon) BUT … he’d persuaded himself (and his starry-eyed followers) that he’d be in the 2nd Round; banks had been approached for a loan and venues identified for meetings
  • Sarkozy is said to be announcing his vote for Macron: will it be a ‘personal vote’ or will he call on his Party’s supporters so to vote as well?
  • Paris has never been so far away from the rest of France: Macron got 35% of the vote (11 points above his national score), while Le Pen got 4.99% (16.5 points below her national average)

Opinion Poll

Ifop-Fiducial  Macron 61% – Le Pen 39%

A bit less than half of Fillon/Mélenchon voters will support Macron; a quarter of Fillon voters will vote Le Pen as will 19% of Mélenchon voters.

5 thoughts on “Day 12 – Rural France v Urban France. East v West.

  1. Again a very interesting and insightful overview. Obviously we can make of statistics what we will. The only unashamedly pro-EU candidate scored less than 25% of votes cast, and factoring in an abstention rate of just above 22%, less than 1 voter in 5 of the total electorate. Hardly an overwhelming endorsement of the status quo. The trend is clearly the other way, unless we believe that this is ‘low tide’.

    So will the EU be prompted to look at the way it operates, or just heave a sigh of relief until the next elections in Germany and then Italy? Juncker sending a congratulatory message to Macron speaks volumes.

    I suspect that this blog has a long and happy life in front of it :))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are also so many ‘what ifs’. Obviously Fillon snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Had Melenchon and Hamon, former and present ministers in a Socialist government, buried their egos, they could have comfortably won the first round.

    The impact of the ‘minor’ candidates is also difficult to assess. It may be democratic to have so many people standing, but it doesn’t half muddy the waters and can lead to unexpected consequences. In numbers candidates 6 – 11 polled nearly 9% of the vote, and the 1.7 million votes polled by Dupont-Aignan alone in 6th place is more than the gap between Macron in 1st and Melenchon in 4th place. Who knows and it would be amusing if it weren’t such a serious subject?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps the most real and immediate impact by a ‘minor’ candidate on the outcome of the 1st Round of a Presidential Election was in 2002. Taubira (later an effective Minister of Justice for Hollande) got 2.3%, dwarfing the 0.7% gap between Socialist Hollande (3rd) and J-M Le Pen (2nd) … and Taubira was herself but one of several ‘Socialists’ who were each part of the Thousand Blooming Flowers.
    Incidentally, perhaps Hamon and Mélenchon should better respectively be described as ‘former’ and ‘extremely former’ Socialist Ministers. In the end it was much more than ‘ego’ that prevented one giving way to the other; their respective policies, particularly on the European Union, were kilometres apart.
    But I really did find it very difficult to distinguish the policies of the several Hard, Ultra-Right candidates.
    Long Live Sectarian Differences.


    1. This is theoretical and I’ve obviously got too much time on my hands, but I’m not sure that people voted for either Mélénchon or Hamon for the fine print of their respective platforms. I’ve just reread the ‘programmes’ of Hamon and Mélenchon, and there are a large number of points on which they are very similar (redefine European debt policy, revise directive on ‘Travailleurs détachés’, Protectionism (‘Buy European’), Europe wide tax harmonisation, reinstate sovereignty of French parliament over EU parliament, workers rights, return to 35 hours, massive public investments, renewable energy, refusal to ratify TAFTA and CETA, etc). There is a major difference over Nato, where they have diametrically opposed positions, and also EU treaty renegotiation, with Mélenchon much more aggressive. However this may still have been a missed opportunity for the Left to somehow cling on, malgré Hollande.

      Of course Mélenchon and Marine also have a lot in common in their appeal to the extreme wings, in terms of Nationalism, Sovereignty, Anti-EU, etc and it will be interesting how many Mélenchon supporters swing far right.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have just read the BBC summary (follow link and then the further link ‘What does this mean for Brexit?’). I was surprised by the comment that anti-EU sentiment seems to be fading. This complacency may be optimistic and premature. After all Macron, the only overtly pro-EU presidential candidate, polled just 24% in France and overtly anti-EU & Euro candidates (all except Macron Fillon and Hamon) polled over 50%.
    Wilders in The Netherlands gained 5 seats and is now the 2nd largest party. With 20 seats out of 150, transposed into a UK context, Wilders has the equivalent of 87 seats, the same as all UK parties excluding Conservatives and Labour combined, (the SNP have 56). Hardly a fringe party.

    There may be huge relief in Brussels at Macron’s progress but the signals of significant discontent with the EU seem to be clear.

    Liked by 1 person

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