Within a very few days French politics will be profoundly different. And then comes the difficult bit.

Random numbers

  • 1 – just one triangulaire with 3 candidates in Sunday’s run-off election (34 in 2012)
  • 2 – every 2nd voter … didn’t vote. Since 2002 – and the creation of the 5 year Presidency with Legislative Elections straight after the Presidential – the abstention level has accelerated:  2002 36%; 2007 40%; 2012 43%; 2017 51.3%
  • 3 – an element tarnishing Macron’s horizon is that in Round 1 of the Legislative Elections only one in 3 voted for the Macron programme … ie 15% of the electorate
  • 4 Députés got 50% of the vote + 25% of the registered voters … and so were directly elected in Round 1 (compared to 110 in 2007 and 36 in 2012)
  • 6 FN candidates led in Round 1 by ten points over their opponent – Le Pen has the largest lead, 26 points. The FN will be in a run-off in 119 constituencies next Sunday.
  • 12 Socialists led after Sunday’s Round 1 of the Legislatives – in the 2012 Elections 295 Socialists were elected to the National Assembly
  • 15 – the number of Députés needed to form a group in the National Assembly – the self-styled ‘premier parti de la France‘ (Front National) may comprise Le Pen alone
  • 19 – the number of LREM candidates eliminated in Round 1 (mostly in Corsica, the North of France and France’s overseas territories) … bit embarrassing for The Few
  • 20 – the Front National led in 20 constituencies after Round 1 of the Legislatives; Le Pen led in 216 constituencies after Round 1 of the Presidential Election
  • 22 – candidates from the Right got 22% of Round 1 votes cast on Sunday … but may well only get 20%, or less, of National Assembly seats
  • 32 – candidates from the President’s LREM/centrist MoDem got 32% of Round 1 votes cast on Sunday … and may well get more than 70% of National Assembly seats
  • 449 – the number of seats where (out of 577 constituencies) the President’s LREM led after Round 1
  • 2,946, 401 – Front National plunged from 7.7 million votes for Le Pen to 2.9 million votes for their candidates in the Legislative Elections (500,000 less than 2012).

 

‘No triumphalism … but humility’

That’s the order passed down from on high to President Macron’s about-to-be-army-of-Députés [so huge will they be in number that there’s no space in the National Assembly big enough to accommodate all these folk – other than the Debating Chamber itself].

Well. I’ve had to adopt that same self-denying ordinance myself.

The (perhaps just a bit too obvious?) headline over my remarks about Round 1 of the Legislative Election was ‘Chronicle of a Victory Foretold’.

It is true that – over the last few months while writing this blog – I’ve used, adapted, even adopted, a fair few items from Le Monde. So perhaps it’s only fair they should have borrowed something from me.  But straight plagiarism with zero acknowledgement? Humility or humiliation?

Le Monde two days later headlined:

20170613_233933.jpg

So when this is all over maybe I could sub-edit headlines for Le Monde? [That’s the first time I’ve nicked a pic from them, hope they won’t mind too much.]

Bérézina

The French regularly refer to a seriously disastrous defeat as a bérézina in reference to the Russian river which Napoleon, retreating from Russia, had to cross.

Last Sunday, the Socialists, Greens and Communists all suffered catastrophic humiliations and references to bérézinas abound.

A wise commentator/academic, Jaffré, ascribes the Electoral Tsunami to the happenstance of
  • the self-destruction and lack of leadership of the Socialist party
  • disappointment with Mélenchon and his Hard Left re. the unwillingness to say anything much anti-Le Pen
  • the Front National’s implosion and failure to sound credible after Le Pen’s self-destruction in That Presidential Debate, plus their incoherent economic policies
  • the weakness and lack of leadership of the Right … and
  • unprecedented abstention levels from those who didn’t support LREM, but knew there was no point in trying to stop the tide coming in.
Maybe it’s no more, however, than that French voters really do want a democratic autocrat in charge. This would fit with their serious desire to support such neo-autocratic candidates as Le Pen and Mélenchon. Chassany (in the Financial Times) wrote that ‘Emmanuel Macron takes lessons from the Sun King … Since becoming President Mr Macron has retreated to Mount Olympus’
While Professor J Cornette (Sorbonne University – specialist on the Monarchy in 17th century France) was quoted in the FT: ‘President Macron seems keen to look impenetrable, distant, sovereign – the trademark of Louis XIV … Despite beheading their King, the French haven’t really parted with the symbols of monarchy, they have remained attached to the idea of a powerful figure embodying authority.’
Also long-standing readers may recall an Ipsos-Mori opinion poll from pre-history (in February 2017): 80% of the French said they would ‘support a strong leader who would break the rules’. This compared with the UK’s 50%, USA’s 40% and Germany’s 21%.
Random quotes
  • For definitively The Last Time a reference to Sarkozy’s ill-fated hard-right scribe Guaino. Having not been re-adopted in his old Constituency, he went to try to create trouble for a liberal(ish) Républicain in Paris. Guaino got 1991 votes and ended his political career in 7th place [but it was out of 24 candidates, and two them did get nul votes]: “The electorate which voted today in the Paris 2 constituency make me want to vomit … Yes you heard me right, to vomit. I was between the bobos [bohemian bourgeois] on one side, part of their own egotistical group, and the traditional right bourgeoisie, those who go to Mass, take their children to catechism and afterwards vote for 30 years for a bloke who for 30 years fixed and cheated by every means possible.  [Fillon used to be the Député in Paris 2]… Free at last.’
  • Boutin, President, Christian Democrats (part of The Right) – “To those who are discouraged and anxious, don’t give up. We are starting our Exodus. But, as we know, at the end of it all there will be The Promised Land.’ [It took a while. Ed]
  • Mélenchon urges France Insoumise voters, this coming Sunday, to support not only their own candidates but Communists … and even Socialists (provided they opposed the changes to the Hollande-Valls Labour Law last year). Evidently easier for him to do that than to urge people to vote against Le Pen to be President.

Out on the Streets

LREM candidate Pouzyreff overall got 47.9% of the vote last Sunday in this Constituency (Yvelines 6) … and in our very own conservative-since-time-began town she actually received 50.6% of the vote against sitting Républicain Député, Morange. He of 18+ years standing (?).  Even in the small town where Morange had been Mayor for all but 22 years, he only got 61 more votes than the LREM candidate.

Small earthquake among local conservatives … several people (probably) deeply hurt.

Once a political tidal wave is under way, nothing can withstand its power.

 

 

 

 

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