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PS Primaries - Voting has begun

by afew Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 10:41:43 AM EST

Update [2006-11-16 17:35:13 by afew]:11.40 pm CET: Looks like a clear first-round win for Ségolène Royal with 55%-60%. See new thread on top of front page

THIS EVENING : ELECTION RESULTS LIVE BLOGGING !

By Jerome a Paris and afew.

Today 218,771 card-carrying members of the French Socialist Party (PS) will vote in their local party headquarters, in the first round of their presidential primary. The three candidates are Laurent Fabius, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Ségolène Royal. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a second round will take place in a week's time (23 November).

The official campaign was organized around six debates, some public, some within the party behind (supposedly) closed doors. Fairly dull, apparently, in terms of policy discussion. There was some heat given off at one debate where Royal was whistled and booed, and DSK's campaign was accused of stage-managing that. The DSK campaign was again accused when a video from an internal PS discussion from last January was "leaked", showing Royal discussing the possibility of making teachers work a 35-hour week of actual presence at school, a guaranteed bad move within the PS. Royal has also protested about "macho attitudes".


THE THREE CANDIDATES

Laurent Fabius, who was prime minister under Mitterrand in 1984-86 (at age 34) has long been seen as one of the biggest "elephants" (as the senior leaders of the socialist party are called), and felt that this was his turn to run. Duting the 90s, he was tainted for a long time by the contaminated blood scandal (hemophiles who received HIV-infested blood due to improper procedures at the national blood transfusion center when he was prime minister) but was fully cleared in 1999. He used to be associated more with the centrist (social-liberal, or social democrat) wing of the party, but since he chose to back the "non" vote during the EU constitution referendum last year, he has reinvented himself as an unapologetic lefty. This is generally not deemed very credible, but his strong support within the PS apparatus gives him the hope of finishing second and forcing Ségolène to dispute a second round. He is generally seen as the most brilliant of the three.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has long been in charge of economic issues in the PS, and was finance minister in 1997-2001, where he was seen by both business and pundits as doing an excellent job. He is thus seen as the most centrist of the candidates, as well as the most technocratic. He has run on an explicitly social-democratic platform, although he has not shied away from calling for the renationalisation of EDF, the power utility. He is generally popular, but his support inside the party is unknown. He may be handicapped by the resentment of Lionel Jospin, the former prime minister, who was hoping to run in this primary, but needed Strauss-Kahn to get out of the way to give him a chance to appear desired and inevitable. As Jospin still has strong support within the party apparatus, manoeuvers to deny him some votes are not impossible.

Ségolène Royal has traditionally been more on the left of the party, but has surprised a number of people by more conservative positions on some issues, like her idea to set up military camps for young delinquants, or her repeated reference to "l'ordre juste" (fair order). After holding several junior positions in leftwing cabinets, mostly on social policy remits (family affairs, education), she came to prominence in 2004 by beating prime minister Raffarin in the Poitou-Charentes regional elections and becoming the only female president of a regional council. The picture of her beaming smile on that election day was widely distributed. Since then, she has run a relentless media campaign to stay in the news, appear new and fresh and become inevitable and, despite many warnings (or wishes) that she would crash, she has not, and has demonstrated both a fierce determination to get her way, as well as a reasonable grasp of "serious" policy issues.

THE PRIMARY AND THE CHANCES

It's the first time a primary has been organized in this way by any French party. (Note that it's not an American-style primary, only party members can vote). Here's what Libération says about it:

The procedure was risky but has functioned correctly. To such a degree that it has given a completely out-of-date look to the UMP's plebiscite system, or the more confusing one of the radical left. <...> Without holding big primaries in the American or Italian manner, <...> the PS chose this procedure in early January. And launched, at the same time, a vast membership campaign the success of which [70,000 new members -- afew] upset the internal applecart.

Risquée, la procédure d'investiture a correctement fonctionné. Au point de ringardiser le mode plébiscitaire de désignation de l'UMP, ou celui, plus confus, de la gauche radicale. <...> Faute de grandes primaires, à la manière américaine ou italienne (quatre millions d'électeurs de gauche pour la désignation de Romano Prodi), le PS a choisi cette procédure inédite début janvier. Et lancé au même moment une vaste campagne d'adhésions dont le succès a bouleversé la donne interne.

Vote forecasts within the party are much less certain than in the past. Lately, the experts were giving Royal elected in the first round, but narrowly, Fabius in second place and DSK last. A quite different result from the opinion polls among voters sympathetic to the PS, and not paid-up members. In those polls, Ségolène is at around 60%, (down), DSK is a good second [up at 28% -- afew], and Fabius stuck at 10%.

Les pointages des prévisions de vote sont moins assurés que par le passé. Ces derniers jours, les experts donnaient Ségolène Royal élue de justesse au premier tour, Laurent Fabius en seconde position et Dominique Strauss-Kahn en dernière place. Un résultat bien différent de ceux des sondages. Ceux-ci ont mesuré la popularité des trois candidats parmi les électeurs proches du PS et non chez les adhérents à jour de leur cotisation. Dans les sondages, Ségolène est autour de 60 % (en baisse), DSK en bon deuxième (en hausse) et Fabius scotché vers 10%.

So the forecasts within the party apparatus give a much closer result than the opinion polls.

Does it matter? It would no doubt be better for the PS to come up with a clear first-round winner. Prolonging the combat is likely to produce more division. An only-just winner will find it harder to unite the party behind them. Someone who appears to understand this perfectly is Nicolas Sarkozy :

"If it's Ségolène Royal, it's all profit for me," said Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday [to journalists with him for his trip to Algiers] <...> "She's been protecting me for months, because the "anyone but Ségolène" phenomenon obstructs the "anyone but Sarkozy" phenomenon. <...> she is "completely out of touch with her electorate and she'll have great difficulty uniting the votes of the left <...> I think she'll show her true nature, which is someone who is short-tempered, harsh, and, when things don't go the way she wants, becomes tense."

On the other hand, if the PS candidate were Laurent Fabius, "we'd have a violent campaign, because he's a violent man <...> The risk for me would be much greater than with a quiet campaign."

"Si c'est Ségolène Royal, c'est tout bénéfice", a jugé Nicolas Sarkozy, lundi <...> "Elle me protège depuis plusieurs mois, car le phénomène 'tout sauf Ségolène' empêche le phénomène 'tout sauf Sarkozy' <...> elle est "en total décalage avec son électorat et elle aura beaucoup de mal à assurer un rassemblement des voix à gauche <...> Je pense qu'elle montrera sa vraie nature, qui est quelqu'un d'irascible, dur et, quand ça ne va pas, qui se crispe."

A contrario, si le candidat du Parti socialiste était Laurent Fabius, "on aurait une campagne violente, parce que c'est un homme violent <...> Le risque pour moi <...> est beaucoup plus grand qu'avec une campagne apaisée."

Why journalists drink up these briefings is beyond me. It's the famous "access" thing. Sarkozy, during a trip abroad, has a friendly chat with them and feeds them a bunch of crap -- that they print. The evident truth (hugely backed by the polls beyond all error margin) is that Fabius is the weakest opponent for Sarkozy, and Royal the strongest. But if the PS primaries are prolonged and there is more in-fighting, if Royal emerges weakened as a candidate by party disunity, why, who stands to gain?

Of course, Fabius called on PS members "not to vote the way Sarkozy wants". Did that mean: What Sarkozy wants is no Ségolène? Well, quite possibly it just meant Vote Fabius... Duh...

Display:
when do results start coming in ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 10:49:35 AM EST
Voting is 4pm-10pm French time, so results should come only late at night.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 10:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Final results 4 to 5 am, which is 3 to 4 UK time, 10 to 11 pm EST...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 11:17:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For those who would like to see more detail on the what the candidates have said is their programme, there's a summary for each candidate here in Le Monde, in French (sorry I don't have time to translate it all...)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 11:15:30 AM EST
There iare double pages in two newspapers of record. El pais and La Vanguardia.
Probably every one read them here so.. it is not news...

But just inc ase soem from Euroep want to read what the reading-newspaper-people of Spain think

The agency report

 La vanguardia

The paper edition of El pais has a large two pages detail analysis of the programs and voters.

El Pais D day

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 12:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today 218,771 card-carrying members of the French Socialist Party (PS) will vote

I assume this is the number that may vote, because unless PS uses Diebold you can not really know in advance the number that will vote.

And launched, at the same time, a vast membership campaign the success of which [70,000 new members -- afew] upset the internal applecart.

These numbers strikes me as a rather small socialist party in a country as large as France. In Sweden all political parties has shrunk the last 15 years (maybe longer, but swedish wikipedia has a good table  of the last 15), and Socialdemokraterna still has 124 789 members. And this in a considerable smaller country. Is the right wing also as small when it comes to membership? Does this has some connection with the french elite system?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 12:44:26 PM EST
Hard to know how many people are members of the UMP, the other main French political party, but it is probably a little over the 200,000 mark.

In the UK (similar population level) New Labour (Wikipedia) : The party had 201,374 members on 31 December, 2004 according to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission. Does it still have as many, I wonder? The British Conservative Party is given at 300,000 members.

So I don't know :-) Maybe Sweden has a strongly participative democracy because... Just throwing out ideas: it's a small, well-knit society; up to now, it has been able to avoid some of the major dislocating effects of globalisation; there is in fact much less distance between the political class and the people (generally true of the Nordic countries).

The "elite system", by which I think you mean the tendency for top political personnel to come from particular grandes écoles and especially the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), may well have something to do with the lack of participation compared to Sweden. But there's more largely a general lack of belief in the capacity of the political sphere to do anything against the economic, and more particularly globalising economic, forces in the world.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just Sweden. In Germany, like in Britain, there too has been a massive reduction in the number of party members, yet last time numbers were in the news, the SPD had 567,925, CDU 561,070 members. Even the Left Party and the FDP has 60,000 members each. The country has only one third more citizens than France or Britain.

On the other hand, here in Hungary, the 30-40,000 members of the Socialists (you can't be sure of the exact number, there has been a scandal of fictious party members that is said to be the tip of the iceberg) are in line with the French or British numbers (multiply by six for population correction). Here it is seen as a low number, and interpreted as a weakness of both democracy (lack of committed political activism) and parliamentarism (parties not deeply embedded in society).

I wonder if Migeru can dig up Spanish numbers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:55:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just for the record, I took a look at Germany too (SPD):

SPD – Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands... With more than 600,000 members it is the largest party in Germany.

It is quite possible that smaller countries has larger percentage involved in parties. But the reason I got quite surprised is that the "death of the parties" in Sweden is quite a big subject. Using the numbers provided by wikipedia (my previous comment), in 1962 18% of the population was members of a political party. From there:
1962 18%
1970 17%
1979 19%
1991 7%
2000 4%
2006 3,3%

The big loss during between 79 and 91 was in mainly due to the right bloc governments action in untieing the links between the mayor unions and the socialdemocratic party. Until 1991, if you became member of a union belonging to LO, you also became a member of the socialdemocratic party. But since then all the big parties has lost a lot of members, giving some problems to find candidates for local elections and such. At current rate the political parties will be empty in 2020...

If this is a general trend in western Europe (or a larger area) it is worth exploring.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed the Mitgliederschwund is a big issue in Germany, too (just compare your dated numbers from the English Wikipedia and mine from 1 October), and the low number of party members is a theme all across the former East Bloc countries.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The consequences of this might be interesting. In Sweden I think two trends has become apparent as party membership has dwindled:

  1. New parties. There is a lot of local parties (The "place name of community here"-party) and the parties that had a reasonable chance to enter parliament in 2006 was more then ever. 12, I think (7 already in parliament, Sverigedeomkraterna, Feministiskt initiativ, Piratpartiet, Junilistan och Sjukvårdspartiet).

  2. More open parties. This trend is weaker but some parties are making serious attempts at reaching out to their voters. The greens used adds to get candidates for local elections, Moderaterna (the major right bloc party) made limited use of open primaries to get some new and popular candidates.


A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:52:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess I've never thought about it, but these numbers strike me as shockingly low, when you consider that the oft-defamed ACLU in the U.S. has over 500,000 card-carrying members! And just in my own little state, which has a third the population of France, there are 5.5 million registered Democrats and 3.1 million registered Republicans.

By the way, can someone tell us how much dues are for a typical political party in Europe? Is it really prohibitively expensive?

by Matt in NYC on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I pay about $35 a year.

But it's not strange the American parties have many members, after all, you're not allowed to vote if you are not a party member in the US, right?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I pay about 1 dollar a year to Piratpartiet (but we have had discussions on raising the membership fee).

As I understand it, in the US you are not allowed to vote in the primaries unless you are registered for the party having the primary. In the regular elections you need to be registered, but you can register as an independent.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:43:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although it depends on the state. In a few states, you can just show up on the day of the primary and "declare" yourself a Republican or a Democrat. And in some other states it's quite easy to change your registration back and forth.
by Matt in NYC on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:49:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As said elsewhere, being registered and being party member is different -- the latter involves much more commitment and participation.

I have no clue what's "typical". But I did look up some figures for you.

  • Hungary, MSzP: minimum 100 Ft/month ($0.5), party members pay more on their own
  • Hungary, Fidesz: 500 Ft/month ($2.5)
  • Germany, SPD: the lowest price is €2.5 for students and low-income people, for normal party members, €5 to €245 minimum (increasing as function of income)
  • Germany, Greens: 1% of netto income or more


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 06:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for normal party members

Erm, I mean normal earners.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 06:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who am I supposed to root for?

Strauss Kahn looks elegant (like an old owl) and he is a tecnocrat. One can write his name as Strauss Khan and pretend he is a descendant of Djinghis Khan. Very good. He was the minister of Economics, Finance, and Industry when Superphénix was forcibly shut down. Very bad.

Fabius opposed the European Constitution, creating all kinds of troubles. And he doesn't look as owlish as Strauss Kahn.

Royal is pretty. Also married to the socialist party boss, opening up possibilities to all kinds of interesting conflicts and scandals. Very good. According to Wikipedia, she has been educated as a lawyer, not as an engineer. Bad. Further, according to Wikipedia:

She has made a point of speaking up on subjects the French Left usually feels uncomfortable with, most notably juvenile delinquents, going as far as advocating putting young delinquents under a reform regime with a "military dimension" [4], causing a stir within her own party and attacking Nicolas Sarkozy on his own turf. She also hasn't hesitated to criticize some side effects of the 35-hour working week that Lionel Jospin wrote into law when he was Prime Minister.

Very good.

I can't really decide between Royal and Djinghis Strauss.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 12:51:29 PM EST
of grappling with the top two crises facing France - unemployment and ethnic tensions.
by tyronen on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 01:22:50 PM EST
Are you sure these are crises?
by glomp on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 01:46:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unemployment is a real issue, which we've discussed here in many different forms. Ethnic tensions is definitely not one, except in the English language press who's been looking for signs of the clash of civilisations everywhere - and finding them when they need to.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 02:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since you know what's what about France, tyronen, I assume you speak French and can therefore consult the PS Project for France, which all three candidates endorse.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:28:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you know I'm a US citizen, but sometimes France seems so much better. Honest to goodness Socialists... If only I knew French, and I thought I had a chance in hell of getting an employer to pay the fines.....

oh well there's allways Canada.

The world will end not with a Bang, but with a "do'oh"

by love and death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 02:21:49 PM EST
Are you guys going to tell us who you voted for?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:10:48 PM EST
Hehe -- I told you on your grassroots thread that I didn't belong to a political party...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:17:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted a couple of long comments on the differences between political participation in the US and Europe in that thread. The meaning of party registration is one of them.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I also made the point above in the story.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It must be frustrating to have elections you are not allowed to participate in.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they wanted to, they'd joined said party.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But they told me that joining a party isn't just a matter of registering, but you have to pay dues and be active in the party.  I think it is insane that you have to pay a party money to be able to vote.  Insane.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:48:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, is it that you guys really don't care who the candidates are or have you just given up on the idea that you should be allowed to pick them?  So passive...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should voters in general be called on to pick a party's candidate?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:52:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh, so people like Hillary Clinton don't end up running the country?  (I don't know what the equivalent candidate is in France.)  So the people have a say.  So that political parties represent the will of the people and not the will of career politicians.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imagine:

  • If the Democrats would be like an European party and party members rather than Beltway idiots would pick the leader, Hillary wouldn't stand a chance.

  • Even if yes, if the USA would have an at least partially proportional system, voters would be able to pick from more than two candidates in the elections.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh> Is this going to be another America/ Europe scrap?
<sigh>
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is important, both for Americans and Europeans, to understand that things don't need to be the way they are.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh, sorry I dare bring up anything that makes France look bad.  Mea Culpa.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It makes France look different. You still haven't explained why it's "good" that the Secretary of State has the political affiliation of every registered votter on file.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't change the subject, Mig.  It makes France look bad that people have to pay to vote in the primaries.  Or are we all going to pretend that charging a fee to vote is a good thing?  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which part of "an internal party selection process is not an open primary" don't you understand?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:22:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No no, do not apologise. You raise valid points.

The thing is that this is not a primary, it is an internal process of an european party.

Because we are in general not restricted to choose between two parties, choosing the candidates is seen as a legitimate internal process. If the parties choose the wrong candidates you can simply vote for another party.

In the french presidential election round one of the elections is more like your primaries as it is (generally, though I assume that you win it all if you get more then 50% in round one) there the two main competitors are elected. Of course, this has it drawbacks too (need I mention Le Pen?).

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also allow to apologize for boring you with my concerns.  I happen to think they are valid and important but you are certainly entitled to your own opinions...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks afew expressed fear of another shouting match with people feeling hurt.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's exactly what I was hoping we might avoid.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of Europe doesn't have a first past the post electoral system. Or a district-based system at all. This changes pretty much everything, in terms of political calculation.

There is always a risk of a 'breakthrough'. An equivalent of Ross Perot anno MCMXCII would earn 20% of the parliamentary representation in most of Europe. And hang on to it for up to four years. This is sort of what happened with Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands in 2002. Keeps politicians on their toes.

(Except Fortuyn was murdered and his party subsequently ousted after barely a year. But had he lived he might have hung on to those seats).

A system of proportional representation makes open primaries largely redundant, and maybe even dangerous.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 08:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm not a socialist.
by glomp on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? How else is a party going to support itself if it's not through membership dues?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have the dues, but don't require people pay to vote!  I guess because I am American it's implicitly a bad idea...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You require people to pay dues to be a party member, and you require party membership to vote in the party's internal selection process.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:01:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has nothing to do with requiring people to pay to vote.

This is an internal party primary in which card-carrying members of the party choose the party's candidate. To be a member, you pay a membership fee. You also don't just show up and take out a card to be able to vote. You have to be a member from before (I don't remember which date) and to have met and introduced yourself to your local party section so you are known in the party as a member.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:08:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To supplement afew: in Europe parties are supposed to be about groups of people sharing an ideology or general outlook. It's not for anyone to vote on who represents their views best. If someone doesn't feel represented, s/he could (in theory) form his/her own party. (In practice though, a lot of less obvious obstacles exist.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is insane that you have to pay a party money to be able to vote.  Insane.

Why?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pay to vote?  What if a person can't afford it?  Who represents the poor?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody represents the poor. Who represents the poor in the US? A poor candidate getting poor votes?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one has top fucking pay to vote, that's for sure.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A distinction without a difference.

Well, actually, a very big difference. Primaries are "free" for voters, but they are hardly free for the contestants. In addition to which, in the US, actually getting the central party blessing requires a combination of money-generating prowess and ass-kissing, toe the corporate line behavior, demonstrated over a significant period of time. US federal candidates, if they want to stand a chance, bascially have to take a catamite aptitude test, pass it, then hope no one else passed it better.

What's more, this is just the PS internal selection. Nothing stops a candidate from the PS to present himself in the presidential even if they lose here, there's been especially worries about Fabius in this regard. And running as an independent (ie non PS, UMP or a la limite the PCF, the Greens or the UDF) of modest means in France does not mean you are consigned to the dustbin of electoral hopes. Speaking for the left, in the first round in '02, the PS standard bearer got 16% of the vote, PCF and Greens another 7 or 8, and left splinters (Laguiller, Chevenement, et c) got actually like 20%. And that vote, the "real" left primary, was indeed free.

Additionally, you don't have to be a millionaire to get into the Senate in France, though it doesn't necessarily hurt. In the US, being a regular guy, as opposed to wealthy, is the exception, not the rule at nearly all levels of Federal politics.

Unsurprisingly no one has represented the poor in the US since roughly 1968.

by redstar on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But you have to tell the government your political affiliation.

Now seriously, can you explain the difference between

  • registered Democrat voter
  • Democrat donor
  • Democrat activist/volunteer
  • Democratic Party "member" (card-carrying?)
  • What is the DLC?

Is there anything to prevent someone who is not a registered democrat from running in the Democratic party primary? The way I see it, the Democratic Party primary is about winning the party's endorsement. You can see how much that was worth to Lieberman, who still went on to win as an independent and caucus with the Dems retaining his seniority.

If you want the Socialist [or any other] Party candidate to represent you, you join the party [which may or may not include paying dues]. If none of the parties' candidates represents you, you can form your own party.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 04:01:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you have to tell the government your political affiliation.

That bothers me, too. Also, it semi-institutionalises the two-party system.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 11:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The poor people's party. It is down to the party's internal rules how much and who should pay. (Communist parties of course allow the poor in.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding differences between the internal rules of parties, I note the German Greens have a much looser structure than other parties, and only around 3,000 card-carrying party members but much more activists, who can take part in the party's life.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I think it is insane that you have to pay a party money to be able to vote.  Insane.

You don't pay to vote. You pay to be a member of a party, and then yo uget to participate in that party's internal decisions.

Voting for candidates is free. You don't need to be supported by a big party to get votes. In 2002, the two candidates from the 2 big parties got 36% of all the votes.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not an election, it's an internal party selection process.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He called them "primaries."

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With scare quotes.

We also had "primaries" in the Socialist Party in Spain a few years ago. They were only for party members. The PSOE considered opening a register of "sympathisers" but I don't think they ever did.

By the way, why should a primary in the US be restricted by voter registration, and moreover why should people's voter registration be in the election roster?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I called them "primaries", so that meant they must be what you know in America as primaries? But the text above specifically explains that is not so. Did you read it?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be frustrating if I were a socialist, which I'm not. Just like I don't want to give socialists the right to influence my baby party's politics, I don't intend to influence theirs.
by glomp on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:26:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the first time any political party in France has ever chosen this route to select its candidate (it used to be done by the apparatus).

It's not an election, it's just one party choosing its candidate via an internal choice. There are plenty of parties in France, and plenty of candidates to vote for in the presidential election (6 or 7 already announced on the left, for instance).

Using the word "primary" was just a way to make it understandable as a concept, but it's not exactly the same process as in the USA. The roles of the various institutions are just so different form country to country, even (especially) in Europe, that it's hard to compare at times.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I know what you mean by "the apparatus"?  The leadership of the party picked the candidate?

And I don't think it's strange that only party members in good standing pick a party candidate rather than have "primary election" open to anyone. Some states in the US do that by having a caucus system rather than a primary system.  My state used to.  In some ways it was better. You actually had to show up at party meetings and stand up and support someone.  I'm not sure that they checked to make sure you'd payed your dues though.  But I wouldn't have objected if they had.

by Maryb2004 on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 12:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless they are card-carrying members of the party as opposed to simply sympathisers or past voters, they wouldn't have been able to vote in this "primary".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the Nouvel Observateur, early results in Paris show a clear victory for Royal with Strauss-Kahn in second place.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:54:30 PM EST
When can results be expected? (Until when should I stay up?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:57:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See top of thread... ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I asked because we passed 10pm an hour ago, and "late at night" is a bit indefinite.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the top of the thread I said 4 to 5 am CET for final results. I'm not staying up ;) Perhaps Jerome will pick it up in a while... I don't know.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At 11 p.m. the Nouvel Obs is calling for 57-60% for Royal.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If that's true I'm pleased- she has an authentic smile.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:15:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, I'm just looking at that.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:17:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde says turn-out is around 80% and Royal is apparently a clear first-round winner with no need for a second round. They say results will be known for sure by about 1 am.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:22:47 PM EST
Bruno Le Roux, national elections secretary of the PS, says party members made a clear choice in the first round and there would probably be no need of a second.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:27:39 PM EST
Jean-Louis Bianco, spokesman for Ségolène Royal, says her victory in the first round "is in no doubt".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:29:30 PM EST
You've got to be joking.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 05:45:11 PM EST
I mean this must be a joke

Jerome a Paris has e-mailed me to tell me many of our readers have complained to him about my comments here.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 05:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 06:52:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Take it as a tasteless one.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 07:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am trying to be sincere, not tell jokes.  It is true; it is a fact, and I wanted to make it clear.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 09:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's weird.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 06:15:25 PM EST
What, my post?  It's not meant to be weird.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 09:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN-believable!!!!

Those "readers" should have the guts to say it on the thread and not go behind anyone´s back.  That´s beyond low, beyond puerile!!

Those "readers" are the ones that should question their own presence here.  "Full Stop."

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 09:37:50 AM EST
I am always surprised by the differences between the US and the rest of the first world. Having followed the argument I do not understand where the difference lies. I would probably end up repeating various explanation comments to no avail.

The excellent Glenn Greenwald also does the same things as poemless has done - ended up in a situation where from his perspective - the rest of the first world looks mighty immoral and the rest of us are sputtering - but, you're not seeing this and this and this... to no avail. (Germany's claim to "universal" power over other countries' citizens)

I can understand the frustrations that people have with poemless' lack of comprehension about multi-party leadership conventions - it seems transparently obvious to me. It brings up something that I think is quite important. That is what is this disconnect between the US and the rest of the first world? This disconnect travels all the way through US politics - from right to left. The only place I haven't yet seen it is in the radical left - wait that's not true. I remember an anarchist feeling that the system of checks and balances was superior to other systems. (Wait a second -your an anarchist!)

Something that poemless (and Glenn Greenwald) see as obvious that all their repeating over and over leaves us scratching our heads in frustration. Hell - I was born and lived in the US for 11 years, and I can't figure it out.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 10:51:00 AM EST
Something that poemless (and Glenn Greenwald) see as obvious that all their repeating over and over leaves us scratching our heads in frustration.

I actually feel EXACTLY the same way about the responses to my questions.  It's not that I am unable to understand your system, I just can't fathom why you'd prefer it.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 11:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:-)

Fair enough!

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 11:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Explaining how it functions does not imply prefering it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 07:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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