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French Parliamentary Elections: a look under the hood

by Bernard Tue May 8th, 2012 at 08:06:50 AM EST

Now that the presidential elections are behind us, the next challenge for the PS and President-elect Hollande are the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday, June 10 (first round) and June 17 (second round).

It looks like we, the French, love the republic so much that we wanted several of them: France's current political regime is called the Fifth Republic, and was established by de Gaulle in 1958.

It is said that the 1958 constitution was tailor-made for de Gaulle and turned the Fifth Republic into a 'presidential regime', like the United States or Mexico, as opposed to, say, Germany or Italy, where the presidential position is mostly honorific and the real power is with the Federal Chancellor or the Prime Minister.

However, even under the Fifth Republic, the President is still very much dependent on the Parliament: the President appoints the Prime Minister and the cabinet members, but the National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament, can overthrow the government by voting a censure motion (it has happened only once, in 1962).

frontpaged - Nomad


Parliament does matter

This is why it is crucial for any Fifth Republic President to be supported by a majority at the parliamentary majority at the National Assembly. This was the case for the first 20 years when the Gaullist party and its allies held both the presidency and both houses of Parliament.

Come 1981: François Mitterand is elected President but the National Assembly is still leaning right. Mitterand logically decided to dissolve the National Assembly and call for early elections. Thanks to the two-round system, and although the PS got 36% of the vote nationwide in the first round, it was enough to have an absolute majority of seats at the end of the second round.

In 1986, the right won the parliamentary elections and Mitterand had to name Jacques Chirac Prime Minister: a so-called 'cohabitation'. For the next two years, there was a tug-of-war between the two men, each trying to exercise as much power has possible and testing the constitutional limits. A similar 'cohabitation' happened after the 1993 elections (Mitterand named Edouard Balladur PM; among the Cabinet members was a junior Minister named Nicolas Sarkozy).

Lastly in 1997, following some of his advisers, Chirac decided to dissolve the National Assembly and call for early elections, in a gambit that was expected to give him a parliamentary majority until the end of his term in 2002. It didn't pan out as expected, since the PS won the majority instead, and Chirac named Lionel Jospin Prime Minister; but one of the effective consequences is that, since 2002, the parliamentary elections are taking place about a month after the presidential elections, especially now that the length of the presidential term has been changed from seven years to five years, exactly the same as the term for the National Assembly MPs.

Possibly because of the memories of the past 'cohabitation' periods, the parliamentary elections occurring in the aftermath of the presidential ones always have given a majority to the newly elected President: this is exactly what President-elect Hollande is expecting and one of his first orders of business.

A two-round, district-based system

The parliamentary elections are organized on a two-round system in each electoral district: a district is supposed to represent about 110,000 people, but gerrymandering has been a longstanding French traditions and - supposedly more conservative - rural districts tend to be smaller population-wise than urban ones.

A candidate receiving an absolute majority (>50%) of the vote in the first round is elected: in 2007, 109 MPs (out of 551) were elected in the first round.

When no candidate gets an absolute majority, a second round is organized one week later between all candidates having received a number of votes representing at least 12.5% of registered voters. This means that more than two candidates can run in the second round (unlike in the presidential election). In practice, because of the alliances between different parties, most third position and further candidates are withdrawing from the second round and supporting one of the two candidates who arrived ahead in the first round. 'Triangular' or 'quadrangular' second rounds have been the exception until the late 1990s.

But now, some parties are not playing ball, most notoriously the Front National, who has vowed to maintain its candidates in the second rounds 'whenever possible', with the avowed aim of creating maximum pain to Sarkozy's UMP party and achieve an 'implosion of the right wing'.

Small parties 'excluded' from the National Assembly

The FN's strategy is more disruptive than anything else, because it actually has little hope of gaining any seat in the upcoming assembly. The two-round, district-based system has one practical side effect: smaller parties have little hope of gaining any seat at all, barring an electoral agreement with larger parties.

Effectively, it doesn't matter for a political party to get 15% or 20% of the vote nationwide: there must be at least one electoral district where its candidate manages to get a majority (even relative) of the votes in the second round. For the FN to get seats, it would take either its candidate getting more votes than the PS and UMP candidate in a 3-way or 4-way second round, or the UMP candidate withdrawing and supporting the FN candidate: several UMP people have called for such an electoral agreement with the FN, but the UMP leadership have always resisted such an alliance... so far.

The communist party (PCF), despite getting less than 5% of the vote nationwide in 2002 and 2007, still managed to get 15 seats in the outgoing assembly thanks to its stronghold districts where its candidates could manage a majority, oftentimes with the PS calling for the PCF candidate in the second round.

The Greens have also been disadvantaged by the electoral system: for years, they had no seats at the National Assembly, despite a 10%-ish overall score. In the past decade they managed to get up to five seats thanks to formal or informal electoral agreements with the PS: for instance, in my own district, the Green candidate got more votes than the PS one in the first round of a special election back in 2010 and the PS candidate decided to withdraw and support the Green. For the upcoming elections, the PS and EELV have a formal agreement where the PS will directly support Green candidates from the first round on, in 60 electoral districts.

The Parti de Gauche (PG) which is led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and is one component of the Front de Gauche, along with the PCF, will run candidates in 100 districts, with PCF candidates running in the remainder. Although there are no formal agreements with the PS, it is expected that should a FDG candidate get more votes than the PS one in the first round, the PS candidate would withdraw and call for the FDG in the second round(and vice-versa).

As much as the two-round, district-based system excludes many small parties from gaining seats at the Assembly, it often allows a contrario the dominant party to gain an absolute majority of seats with30 to 35% of the national vote in the first round: this was the case for the UMP in 2002 and 2007, also for the PS in 1981.

In summary, some of the major issues for next month elections:

  • Will the PS (plus the Greens) get an absolute majority of seats?
  • Will the Front National manage to have one or more elected representatives? (and will some UMP ally with the FN?)
  • How many seats will the Front de Gauche obtain?
  • <your own question here>

Display:
OK,

Yes
Yes
A few
No, don't be silly, there is no chance to get second preference voting in place before the 2017 elections.

Right, that's sorted, then ... though if second preference voting was in place, it would see a lot more seats filled in the first round, and likely frame the second round second round voting well enough that the need to stand down to allow the potential coalition partner through would be minimized.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 02:57:37 PM EST
would only serve the function of eliminating most of the second rounds : it would not improve representation of minor parties for example. Mere administrative efficiency.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 07:17:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many second round elections would be eliminated if second preferences for parties below the threshold are redistributed?


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 07:33:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would require some number-crunching. As a first approximation, and presuming that people's second preferences would correspond to how they habitually vote in a second round, it would eliminate nearly all of them. I was going to say it would eliminate all those except those which result in a triangular second round, but that's too big an assumption.

At a guess, it would largely solve the UMP's problem with triangular second rounds vs. the PS and FN, which will cost them dearly this time. If a majority of FN voters give their second preference to the UMP, this would probably tip the balance to elect the UMP candidate in the first round, in most cases.

Insofar as it gives more power to electors at the expense of the parties, it's a good thing I guess... though it hurts to say so.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 07:47:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if there were triangular contests in the second round, those candidates wouldn't be eliminated in the first round, so their second preferences wouldn't be cast for anybody, they'd stay with their candidate.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 08:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is debatable. You seem to be assuming that people do vote for their main choice in the first round.

In 2007, with second preference, Bayrou would have won in a landslide.

Of course, proportional representation would be the right thing to do for parliementary elections.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 08:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"In 2007, with second preference, Bayrou would have won in a landslide."

Actually, not necessarily. It depends on how it would be organised. So I should take that back.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 09:01:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would Bayrou had been the Condorcet winner?

Condorcet method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Condorcet method is any election method that elects the candidate that would win by majority rule in all pairings against the other candidates, whenever one of the candidates has that property

While not the strict definition an approxiamtion is that the least disliked candidate wins. Wheter this is good depends (imho) on what you are electing.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 02:10:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Second preference would affect the final pair of Presidential candidates if second preferences flipped the 3rd / 2nd order before the 3rd place candidate was relegated. You'd have to have the margin in 2007 and guess how the preferences of the voters for the lower placed candidates would distribute.

The two round general election system is oriented to accomplishing a similar end as the second preference system, but generating more work for journalists. But given the 12.5% of registered voters ~ 15.6% of the electorate with 80% turnout, 19.2% of the electorate with 65% turnout ~ a second preference makes it easier for minor parties to get over the line for the second round.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 12:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed -- in a certain number of cases, it might, for example, enable a FDG or EELV candidate to qualify for the second round, and/or finish ahead of the PS candidate, if electors exchanged second preferences. In practice, I suspect, there would be too much dispersal of preferences. Unless Australian-style how-to-vote instructions were issued by parties. But that's anti-democratic.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 01:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beating the threshold and hitting either first or second among the left would seem to be the key. With second preference voting, the "left solidarity" action would be for everyone but the first two left party candidates to stand aside.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 03:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The main effect that I can see is to counteract the PS's "vote utile" propaganda; so, in 2007, the Green and Communist candidates would have done a lot better, and Royal correspondingly worse; but Royal would have gone through to the second round, because I can't see many electors from eliminated candidates going to Bayrou.

Likewise, the system would probably encourage the natural tendency of the mainstream right to run two candidates, since they wouldn't have to worry so much about being eliminated by the FN.

So it's all positive for the presidentials.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 01:42:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then it would have to be put in place despite Socialist Party reluctance.

It doesn't seem that the Green Party or the Radicals are in a position to make many demands of the PS, if they are dependent upon an electoral coalition with the PS for their representation in parliament.

So it would come down to whether the FDG is required to form a majority, and what price in electoral reform the FDG could extract.

MMP on whatever numbers on offer would seem to be the first best outcome for the FDG ~ any other electoral reform would be a consolation prize if MMP is out of reach.

Of all the electoral reforms ~ preferential voting, multi-member STV, MMP ~ while second preference wouldn't have as dramatic an impact, it also comes with the least likelihood of increasing FN representation, so long as the FN remains relatively second preference toxic. However, that likelihood would have been even lower before Sarkozy's efforts to woo the FN electorate.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 04:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A different question: should PS win, who look likely to become ministers, and what about the PM?

(BTW I corrected some typos/grammar.)

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

by DoDo on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 04:09:01 PM EST
Well, should the UMP win the elections and gets an absolute majority of seats, Hollande won't have much choice other than appointing a UMP Prime Minister who'd run right wing policies (and fat lot of good electing Hollande would have done). OK, that's unlikely, especially with the FN absolutely bent on inflicting maximum damages to the UMP by maintaining their candidates in the second round whenever possible.

The most likely alternative are:

  • The PS gets an absolute majority all by itself
  • The PS plus the Greens at EELV (60 districts where the PS supports them) get an absolute majority.
  • The PS plus the Greens get a relative majority and need to coalesce with the Front de Gauche to reach an absolute majority.
by Bernard on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 04:30:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might find that you have misread the question.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 04:42:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, got sidetracked :)

The PM is still anyone's guess although the grapevine says JM.Ayrault, mayor of Nantes and current PS group leader at the National Assembly (discussed here). We'll know next Tuesday once Hollande is inaugurated.

by Bernard on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 05:27:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EELV souhaite, à une très large majorité, participer au prochain gouvernement EELV wishes, by an overwhelming majority, to participate in the next government
Lors d'un conseil fédéral d'EELV réuni à huis clos, les responsables d'Europe Ecologie-Les Verts ont confirmé mardi 8 mai leur souhait d'entrer dans le futur gouvernement si des postes leur sont proposés par François Hollande.In a federal council of EELV meeting behind closed doors, leaders of Europe Ecology-Greens have confirmed their wish Tuesday, May 8th to enter in the future government if they are offered positions by Francois Hollande.
Dans un tweet, la secrétaire national du parti indique que 83,80 % des membres du conseil fédéral y sont favorables.In a tweet, the national secretary of the party indicates that 83.80% of federal board members were in favor.
Dans le détail : 78 ont voté pour, 15 contre et 14 abstention, a indiqué un cadre.In detail: 78 voted in favor, 15 against and 14 abstentions, said one leading member.
Cécile Duflot qui a déjà annoncé qu'elle quittera le secrétariat national d'EELV le 22 juin et pourrait devenir ministre, avait appelé lundi ses troupes à se positionner en ce sens, jugant qu'il fallait "passer clairement à une écologie de l'action et de la responsabilité".Cécile Duflot who has already announced that she will leave the national secretariat of EELV June 22 and could become Minister, had on Monday called his troops to take position in this regard, judging there was a need "to make a clear transition to an ecology of action and responsibility ".
A la question de savoir quel contenu donner à cette participation gouvernementale, Mme Duflot a dit ne pas vouloir "le pouvoir pour le pouvoir", et assuré que cela ne se déciderait pas "dans les arrière-cours ministérielles". Histoire de cadrer le rapport de forces avec les socialistes qui pourrait paraître par trop défavorable, elle a tenu à rappeler que les écologistes avaient leur utilité. "51,67 % moins 2,3 %, cela ne fait pas 50 %", a -t-elle dit, en allusion aux scores respectifs de François Hollande au second tour et d'Eva Joly au premier.

Lire : Conseil fédéral tendu à Europe Ecologie-Les Verts

Asked what content would be given to this government involvement, Ms. Duflot said she did not want "tpower for power" , and assured that this would not be decided "in ministerial backyards ". Taking account of the balance of power with the Socialists which might seem overly negative, she was keen to remind that environmentalists had their usefulness. "51.67% minus 2.3%, this is not 50%" , has she said, referring to the respective scores of Francis Holland in the second round and Eva Joly in the first round.
Read: Tense Federal Council for Europe Ecology-Greens
"AUCUNE CERTITUDE" "NO CERTAINTY"
Les écologistes espèrent deux à trois postes de ministres ou de secrétaires d'Etat. Nombreux sont les cadres ou élus EELV sur les rangs, de Jean-Vincent Placé à François de Rugy, Michèle Rivasi, Yannick Jadot, voire Eva Joly.Environmentalists hope for two to three posts of ministers or secretaries of state. Many cadres or parliamentarians of EELV are ready, including Jean-Vincent Placé, François de Rugy, Michele Rivasi, Yannick Jadot or even Eva Joly.
EELV bénéficie par ailleurs d'un accord avec le PS sur 63 circonscriptions avec l'espoir de faire élire de 18 à 24 députés, contre 4 sortants, aux législatives des 10 et 17 juin et obtenir ainsi pour la première fois un groupe parlementaire à l'Assemblée nationale.EELV also benefits from an agreement with the PS of 63 districts with the hope of electing 18 to 24 deputies, as opposed to four in the outgoing parliament, in legislative elections of 10 and 17 June, thus getting for the first time a parliamentary group in the National Assembly.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 05:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens to Beyrou and Melancthon. Do they and their supporters in the Presidential election have any involvement in the Parliamentary election?

Are the Left Radicals (MRG) still about or are they being treated as a wholy owned subsidiary of the Socialists?

As I understand French political history, the centre right have been less cohesive and has created more unstable parties than the centre left. The UMP is the latest version of an attempt to contain as many fragments of the centre-right as possible within one organisation. Will it survive, without a President to follow?

by Gary J on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 07:20:16 PM EST
F.Bayrou's MoDem party will run candidates in just about every district. In the previous elections, the UMP party refrained from running candidates against Bayrou and other MoDem leaders, but they just decided to break this rule and present a candidate against Bayrou, who called for voting Hollande during the second round of the presidential election.

As I mentioned in the diary, Jean-Luc Mélenchon's Parti de Gauche (PG), a splinter branch of the PS created in 2008, will run in about 100 districts and the Communist Party (PCF), the other component of the Front de Gauche (FDG) in the remaining 400 or so. Historically, the PS has agreed to withdraw its candidates in the districts where the PCF candidate was ahead at the end of the first round. Will the same agreement apply to all FDG candidates, including Mélenchon? Probably...

The Left Radicals (now PRG) are indeed practically a subsidiary of the PS, for this election at least: the PS has reached an agreement with the PRG and the Greens (EELV) and will support directly the PRG and EELV candidates from the first round in respectively 32 (PRG) and 60 (EELV) districts. For instance, in my district, the PS won't run any candidate and will support the incumbent Green MP.

As you probably know, the characterization of UMP party as "centre-right", although frequent in the English language press, is hotly disputed here on ET. But you're right: the UMP has been trying to absorb as many centrist groups as possible, Bayrou's MoDem having been the only outlier.

The real challenge to the UMP's cohesion is not the loss of Sarkozy's leadership (heirs are already popping up), but the drift towards an more or less open alliance with the FN, as openly proposed by some from the 'Droite populaire' current: this would most likely cause the remaining centrists and probably many traditional gaullists to quit the UMP.

by Bernard on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 03:49:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernard:
Historically, the PS has agreed to withdraw its candidates in the districts where the PCF candidate was ahead at the end of the first round. Will the same agreement apply to all FDG candidates, including Mélenchon? Probably...

To do otherwise would be unthinkable. Do you know of any example (other than rogue independants) where there was more than one left-wing candidate in the second round of a legislative district?

The principle of désistement républicain is part of the bedrock credo of the French left. All the dirty tricks are concentrated in the first round, and the second round is dedicated to beating the right. If the PS were to decide to break this rule and maintain candidates where they came in behind the FDG, the results would be cataclysmic :

  • firstly, the FDG would reciprocate wherever possible, causing the PS to lose a few seats
  • secondly, large numbers of voters of the left, myself included, would stay home rather than vote for the PS, regardless of the situation in my own district.

No, the interesting question is whether the PS will concede districts to the FDG in the first round, by not putting up a candidate (this is what they are doing with EELV, and also with the near-invisible MRG). Without this, the FDG would be hard-pressed to get more than a dozen or so MPs, and they would nearly all be PCF, because of the historical stronghold effect. Mélenchon's own PG has no such historical implantation, so under the present electoral system they can only win seats in co-operation with the PS... thus severely limiting their range of possibilities as a left opposition, to put it mildly.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 05:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
Bernard:
Historically, the PS has agreed to withdraw its candidates in the districts where the PCF candidate was ahead at the end of the first round. Will the same agreement apply to all FDG candidates, including Mélenchon? Probably...

To do otherwise would be unthinkable. Do you know of any example (other than rogue independants) where there was more than one left-wing candidate in the second round of a legislative district?

No, just a few rogue independents as you pointed out.

As for extending the PS/PRG/EELV electoral agreement to the FDG (PCF and Parti de Gauche), I haven't seen any signs in this direction but it may yet happen. It has happened in the past: 1997, 2002 (Gauche plurielle), but not in 2007. Anyway, as you noted, even in the absence of a first round agreement, any FDG or Green candidate coming ahead of the PS candidate will receive full support from the PS (barring a few local ego battles).

by Bernard on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 06:16:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good technical post, but I feel impelled to expand on certain aspects. I am very attached to the French Republic, but not particularly to the current Constitution : version 5 and a half, by my reckoning; I am disappointed that constitutional reform has not been an election issue (EELV, and johnny-come-lately Arnaud Montebourg, are for a Sixth Republic).

European Tribune - French Parliamentary Elections: a look under the hood

since 2002, the parliamentary elections are taking place about a month after the presidential elections, especially now that the length of the presidential term has been changed from seven years to five years, exactly the same as the term for the National Assembly MPs.

So how did this happen? There were several periods of cohabitation, as Bernard notes. This caused no major dysfunction or difficulty in the institutions of the Republic; the Constitution defines pretty clearly the domains which are reserved for the President (foreign policy and defense, principally) and there was little conflict. The only downside, from my point of view, was that the left and right were obliged into working in concensus on these questions: but since 1981, the left haven't been much good on these issues anyway.

On the whole, during cohabitation, France functioned as a parliamentary regime, and this suited me far better than the presidential regime we had before or since. When a referendum was held in 2000 on aligning the Presidential and parliamentary terms at 5 years, I would have voted against it (but didn't yet have my papers).

My wish with respect to electoral reform was for a regime that was not only parliamentary, but democratic : i.e. proportional representation. The election platform of the combined left (Gauche Plurielle : PS, PC, Verts, MRG) in 1997 included the introduction of PR. Somehow, the government of Lionel Jospin forgot to implement this (even though the PS, on its own, did not have a majority in the Assembly : the small parties missed an historic opportunity there). On the contrary, Jospin became infected with Great Man Syndrome, and cut a deal with President Chirac. Between them, they staged a soft coup d'état.

It must be emphasised that the referendum text did not specify the order of the presidential and parliamentary elections. The question was solely on aligning them on five-year terms. The logical and democratic order would be to hold parliamentary elections in order to determine the will of the people, then presidential elections to confirm, or even to counter-balance, the result. But Chirac and Jospin, once the constitutional amendment was in place, simply fixed the order of elections afterwards in the order that suited their intent : not only re-presidentialising the regime by reducing the influence of Parliament, but bipolarizing it, by ensuring that parliamentary elections will be reduced to an affrontment between the parliamentary blocs of the winning and losing candidates... thus steamrolling the small parties, even more than the two-round system naturally does.

...OK, got that off my chest.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 05:44:15 AM EST
It must be emphasised that the referendum text did not specify the order of the presidential and parliamentary elections. The question was solely on aligning them on five-year terms.

However, since Parliamentary elections can be called ahead of time, a new president could always dissolve the parliament and call new elections. Under the old 5-7 system, ther was no way to avoid 2 years of cohabitation at the end of a president's term if the elections coincided at the start and the voters soured towards the president at the end of his mandate.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 06:02:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if called sufficiently ahead of time so that it preceded the presidential election, would the parliamentary election then remain ahead of the presidential election on the length of the terms?

It seems that if there is a coalition majority this time, the minor party partners could engineer a reversal at the end of the current Presidential term.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 06:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The president can always dissolve parliament, except during the year following the last parliamentary election.

Better would be a modification of the electoral system to introduce a proportional element...

This is in Hollande's program : 100 seats (out of 577) to be elected with PR. He hasn't specified, as far as I know, what sort of PR... the best would be a MMP system as in Germany or NZ, where list seats compensate the district seats, to ensure overall proportionality. However, 100 out of 577 would be inadequate for this, they would all go to the minor parties, and still leave them under-represented). More likely, he is talking about an integrally proportional list for the 100, which is of limited interest : a bastardization which could produce perverse effects.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 07:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The single seat districts should still be elected with second preference voting, eliminating from the party with the least votes to the most votes until the threshold in the first round, and until 50% or the last party standing in the second round.

100 seats on MMP would still be a substantial change in the representation of third parties. Why is that in the PS interest? Is it to see FN members elected and introduce discord in possible parliamentary center-right coalitions?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 07:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Insofar as it's sincere, it's a concession to the minor parties of the left, particularly EELV (though the FDG would be a big beneficiary in the current configuration). Parliamentary representation of the FN would be considered as the price to pay (perhaps with the compensation of posing problems to the mainstream right).

But experience suggest that it will come to nothing; the "menace" of representation for the FN will be put forward as an excuse, but collusion with the UMP in order to maintain the current bipolar parliamentary model will be the underlying reason.

OK, I want to believe in Hollande's sincerity. But I believed in Jospin's sincerity, so that's not frankly a good indicator.

(I feel the need for a diary about the disastrous effects of "great man syndrome".)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 07:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Législatives : le PS pourrait ne pas présenter un candidat face à Bayrou Legislative: the PS may not present a candidateagainst Bayrou
Plusieurs socialistes souhaitent que le PS ne présente pas de candidat aux législatives dans la circonscription des Pyrénées-Atlantiques de François Bayrou. Le président du MoDem n'avait pas donné de consigne de vote pour le second tour de la présidentielle, mais avait dit qu'il ferait personnellement le choix de François Hollande.Many Socialists want the PS to present no legislative candidate in the constituency of Pyrénées-Atlantiques held by Bayrou. The President of MoDem had not given instructions to vote for the second round of presidential, but had said that he would personally choose François Hollande.
Pierre Moscovici s'est déclaré "favorable" à un tel scénario, mardi 8 mai sur RTL, rappelant le choix "pas facile, courageux" du centriste entre les deux tours de la présidentielle. "Je pense que cela peut tout à fait se concevoir", a dit le responsable de la transition présidentielle dans l'équipe du président de la République.Pierre Moscovici said he was "favorable" to such a scenario, Tuesday, May 8th on RTL, recalling the "difficult, courageous" choice of the centrist between the two rounds of presidential elections. "I think it may well be conceivable" , said the head of the presidential transition team of President of the Republic.

The least they could do.

Meanwhile, at the OK corral,

Frédéric Nihous ne confirme pas être investi par l'UMP contre François Bayrou Frederic Nihous does not confirm to be invested by the UMP against Bayrou
"Rien n'est confirmé et rien n'est fait", assure Frédéric Nihous au Monde.fr, mercredi 9 mai, après que le site du Figaro a annoncé que le président de Chasse, pêche, nature et traditions (CPNT), allait être investi par l'UMP contre François Bayrou aux législatives dans la 2e circonscription des Pyrénées-Atlantiques. "Nothing is confirmed and nothing is done" , Frederic Nihous to ensure Monde.fr, Wednesday, May 9, after the site of Figaro announced that the President of Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions ( CPNT), would be invested by the UMP against Francois Bayrou in the legislative elections in the second district of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques.
"Je suis en train de travailler avec l'UMP pour voir la place que ma formation de CPNT peut avoir lors du scrutin législatif et la 2e circonscription des Pyrénées-Atlantiques fait effectivement partie de cette réflexion puisque c'est l'endroit où je me suis déjà présenté en 2007. Mais je le répète : rien n'est décidé, ni officiel pour l"instant", affirme M. Nihous. Le siège de CPNT est à Pau. "I'm working with the UMP to see the place that my CPNT movement can have in the parliamentary election and the second district in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques is indeed part of this reflection because it is where I have already been candidate in 2007. But I repeat: nothing is decided, or official for "instant" , says Nihous. The headquarters of CPNT is in Pau .
Le président de Chasse, pêche, nature et traditions s'était déjà présenté face à M. Bayrou en 2007, recueillant 2,39 % des voix au premier tour. Le centriste avait été élu au second tour des législatives après avoir recueilli 37,25 % au premier tour face à un adversaire UMP.President of Hunting, fishing, nature and traditions had already presented against Mr. Bayrou in 2007, garnering 2.39% of votes in the first round. The centrist had been elected in the second round of legislative after having collected 37.25% in the first round against a UMP opponent.
M. Nihous avait annoncé le 22 février qu'il renonçait à se présenter à la présidentielle, ralliant Nicolas Sarkozy. Chasse, pêche, nature et traditions était entré dans le giron de la majorité présidentielle aux régionales de 2010.Mr. Nihous announced Feb. 22 that he renounced a run for the presidential election, rallying to Nicolas Sarkozy. Hunting, fishing, nature and traditions had entered the fold of the presidential majority in the 2010 regional.
Le secrétaire général de l'UMP, Jean-François Copé, a annoncé lundi que l'UMP allait investir un candidat face au président du MoDem, dans sa circonscription, François Bayrou ayant annoncé qu'il voterait pour M. Hollande à titre personnel au second tour de la présidentielle.The Secretary General of the UMP, Jean-Francois Cope said Monday that the UMP would invest a candidate facing the President of the Modem in his constituency, since Bayrou announced that he would vote for Mr. Holland personally in the second round of the presidential elections.

Two partridges with one cartridge for the UMP.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 05:02:49 AM EST
Would the PS unseat Bayrou from his home turf in any case?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 05:05:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 2007, Bayrou won his constituency against all comers, getting 37 % in the first round (PS 23%), and beat the PS candidate in the second round, 61 to 39.

So the answer to that question is no. The relevance is in the first round : the absence of a PS candidate might ensure that he's not knocked out by the UMP. But that's rather condescending; I don't think he's in any danger on his home turf.

All the more so if the UMP endorses Nihous. That's a way of throwing the election to Bayrou without doing so explicitly; to avoid insulting the future, as they say.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 05:26:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are the odds of Bayrou coming third to the PS and a weakened UMP this time around? Really.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 05:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Update : both UMP and PS now swear they are running official candidates against Bayrou.

But I reckon he'll win anyway (and will be very lonely in parliament).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 03:24:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
En direct - Marine Le Pen en appelle «aux élus et électeurs de droite sincère» - Libération Live - Marine Le Pen calls on "sincere elected representatives and voters of the right" - Liberation
Des alliances UMP-FN pour les législatives? Marine Le Pen, exclut «tout accord entre partis» mais explique que «nous regarderons au cas par cas, notamment la sincérité du candidat UMP qui nous proposerait une telle "entente". Je ne suis pas fermée, a priori, à ce type de discussions», déclare Marine Le Pen dans cet entretien. UMP-FN Alliances for the legislative elections? Marine Le Pen, excludes "any agreement between parties" but explains that "we will examine, case by case, the sincerity of any UMP candidate that would propose such an "agreement" [of mutual desistment]. "I am not closed, a priori, to such discussions, "says Marine Le Pen in this interview.

This comes after Bruno Gollnisch, former number 2 of the Front (and unsuccessful rival as leader) stated that they had a "hit list" of UMP leaders that they were aiming to defeat. This, in itself, implies a promise of potential co-operation with others not on the list...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 08:01:06 AM EST
A useful map, showing the legislative districts which voted Hollande or Sarkozy in the second round of the presidential election. This is as good a proxy as any for the likely results of the legislative elections.

So, for a total of 577, we are looking at :

  • 253 "safe" left seats where Hollande got over 52.5%
  • 80 winnable where he got between 50 and 52.5
  • 75 vulnerable for the right, where Sarko is between 50 and 52.5
  • 169 "safe" for the right, with over 52.5%

Given that the right will be demotivated, and a slice of electors may switch sides to give Hollande his chance, the starting point for expectations has to be the 333 seats where Hollande is ahead, plus a certain proportion of the 75 right-wing marginals.

Factor in the FN, which will be maintaining candidates wherever it can (or blackmailing UMP candidates into selling their soul). If the UMP maintains its cohesion, it will probably lose a couple of dozen seats to the left over and above the general left/right swing, out of both the "vulnerable" and "safe" categories. If the local UMP candidates cut deals with the FN, it's even better : the right gets a few more MPs, but becomes a battlefield for the next five years.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 10:56:19 AM EST
Which leaves the interesting question how many people on the left will take the freedom of a widely expected PS majority to vote for someone else on the left. After all, safe Hollande seats are not uniformly safe PS seats.

I assume that the PS has their "useful vote" argument well oiled and ready to crank into top gear, already being warmed up in the Presidential first round.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 12:05:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That may have some effect on overall percentages of votes cast for EELV and FDG, but will have almost no effect on outcomes in terms of seats won.

Here are the numbers from 2007, a low ebb for the left, where non-PS candidates suffered particularly from the "useful vote" fallacy.


                    1st round    2nd round    Seats   
Parti socialiste (PS)     24,73    42,25    186   
Parti communiste (PCF)     4,29    2,28     15   
Les Verts                  3,25    0,45     4   
Divers gauche (DVG)        1,97    2,47     15   
Parti radical de gauche    1,32    1,63     7   
Gauche parlementaire       35,56            227   

Even if the FDG and EELV double the numbers of the PCF and Les Verts respectively, this will mostly be scattered, and insufficient to get anyone to the second round on their own.

The PCF benefits from the concentration of their vote in historic bastions, and can be expected to win some back. Mélenchon's Parti de Gauche has no such bastions, and as I have heard no more about concessions by the PS, he will be lucky to get anyone at all into parliament, himself included.

EELV cut its deal with the PS months ago, and has about 60 districts which are "reserved" for them by the PS (who will not run candidates there). Of these, 18 to 24 are considered "winnable". Of these, anything up to half will actually be won by rogue candidates from the PS, not running under their party's colours... this will be a running gag throughout the campaign, I will keep y'all updated. I'm predicting 12-15 EELV MPs, hoping for more.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 12:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if there were the same percentage of non-PS left MP's as 2007, then if the left won 333 seats, about 275 of those would be PS, and another 10 to 20 in the Greens and Radicals who owe their seats to an electoral coalition with the PS.

I don't know French coalition politics, but from the outside, that doesn't look like a scenario in which serious concessions can be extracted by the balance of left MP's. In NZ politics, that's a scenario where a potential coalition partner would be offered baubles and trinkets and an outer ministry or two.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 02:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An accurate assessment. But it's always the same: damned if we do, damned if we don't.

I was at an EELV gathering this evening - organising for the legislative campaign in one of Lyon's districts - and I did a flash survey: how many believe that Hollande will really intorduce a degree pf PR? To my surprise, a majority of the dozen people there think he's sincere.Are they naive, or am I qn old cynic?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 05:25:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their being naive and your being an old cynic is not necessarily either/or. Both could be true.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 06:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah come on, at the get together, Eurogreen was far from being the oldest cynic! Give the man some respect!

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 01:58:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I scan and rescan my comment, and cannot find a hint of a suggestion of an indication that "old cynic" = "oldest", nor, indeed, "old cynic" = "most cynical".

Indeed a touch of cynicism as one gets older is an indication that one was paying attention.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 10:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mélenchon pourrait être parachuté face à Le Pen - Libération Mélenchon, carpetbagger against Le Pen ?- Liberation
Le Front de Gauche étudie la possibilité d'une candidature de son représentant à la présidentielle Jean-Luc Mélenchon face à Marine Le Pen pour les élections législatives dans le Pas-de-Calais, affirme le quotidien La Voix du Nord dans son édition de jeudi.The Left Front is considering a bid for the presidential representative Jean-Luc Melenchon against Le Pen for the parliamentary elections in the Pas de Calais, says daily La Voix du Nord in its Thursday edition.
Le secrétaire national du Parti communiste Pierre Laurent a soumis la proposition au patron fédéral du parti Hervé Poly et ce dernier a rencontré Jean-Luc Mélenchon mercredi soir à Bruxelles «en toute discrétion» pour affiner ce «détonant parachutage», relate le quotidien nordiste, qui ne donne pas de source.The national secretary of the Communist Party Peter Lawrence has submitted the proposal to the federal party boss Herve Poly and he met with Jean-Luc Melenchon Wednesday night in Brussels " discreetly" to refine this " explosive parachuting " recounts the northern daily , which gives no source.
Marine Le Pen, arrivée en troisième place au premier tour de l'élection présidentielle, devrait se présenter aux élections législatives dans la 11e circonscription du Pas-de-Calais, qui comprend notamment Hénin-Beaumont.Marine Le Pen, came in third place in the first round of the presidential election, is expected to stand for election in the 11th constituency of Pas de Calais, which includes Henin-Beaumont.
En 2007, la patronne du Front national avait été battue au deuxième tour de l'élection à la députation dans ce qui était alors la 14e circonscription par le candidat socialiste.In 2007, the patron of the National Front had been defeated in the runoff election for parliament in what was then the 14th District by the Socialist candidate.
Avec plus de 35% des voix, Marine Le Pen est arrivée en tête à Hénin-Beaumont au premier tour de l'élection présidentielle le 22 avril, ville dont elle était conseillère municipale depuis 2008 jusqu'à sa démission en février 2011 pour cause de cumul des mandats.With more than 35% of the vote, Le Pen came out on top in Henin-Beaumont in the first round of presidential elections on April 22, she was city councilor from 2008 until her resignation in February 2011 because of multiple mandates.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon ne s'est pas encore prononcé sur une éventuelle participation aux législatives.Jean-Luc Melenchon has not yet decided on a possible participation in the legislative elections.

In 2007, Le Pen got 25% in the first round. The PCF candidate got 11.5 The second round was between her and a socialist, who won it 58/42.

Libération leaves unsaid the main reason why it's such a good idea : there's a major corruption scandal involving the PS in this area. Mélenchon would have a pretty good chance of making it to the second round.

Right-wing candidates got a majority of the votes in the first round in 2007 (FN 25, UMP 15, Modem 13), but, roughly speaking, the Modem electorate tipped it to the socialist in the second round.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 11:15:24 AM EST
I like this idea provided he can convince the locals he is going to represent them.  Is this as much of an issue as it is in the States?  Showing up from out of town is usually a pretty big disadvantage.
by paving on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 02:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently he commissioned a poll yesterday... Perhaps we'll hear no more about it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 11th, 2012 at 03:32:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On France Inter news this morning, he was practically announcing it himself. It seems he is waiting to clear it with the Communist Party.

He said the reason the FN was in a strong position was PS absence due to corruption scandals, see your commesnts immediately below.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 11th, 2012 at 04:43:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"parachutage", i.e. finding a place to run anywhere in France for a national politician, is a long tradition in France, dating back to the 3rd Republic. Hollande was a Parisian but always was elected in Correze...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 12th, 2012 at 01:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chirac also was born in Paris (but his family was from Corrèze); Mitterand was from Jarnac but elected in Nevers, etc...
by Bernard on Sun May 13th, 2012 at 07:47:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le député PS Jean-Pierre Kucheida rattrapé par une affaire The Socialist Party deputy Jean-Pierre Kucheida overtaken by a scandal
Des auditions ont été effectuées, jeudi 10 mai, au siège de la Soginorpa, une société qui gère soixante-trois mille anciens logements miniers, dans le cadre d'une enquête sur l'utilisation de la carte bancaire de cet organisme par le député et maire PS de Liévin, Jean-Pierre Kucheida, a-t-on appris de source judiciaire.Hearings were conducted, Thursday, May 10, at the headquarters of the Soginorpa, a company that manages sixty-three thousand former miners' homes, as part of an investigation on using the credit card of this organization by the PS MP and mayor of Lievin, Jean-Pierre Kucheida, it was learned from a judicial source.
Un "responsable du service de la comptabilité" et un "responsable du service trésorerie" ont été entendus par les enquêteurs de la division économique et financière de la police judiciaire de Lille, a précisé le parquet de Douai, confirmant une information du site Internet du quotidien gratuit 20 Minutes. Ces deux auditions ont été effectuées dans le cadre d'une enquête préliminaire ouverte en mars par le parquet de Douai à la suite d'une dénonciation des commissaires aux comptes de la Soginorpa le mois précédent, a ajouté le procureur de Douai, Eric Vaillant. a "head of accounting" and "Head of Cash" were heard by the investigators of the economic and financial division of the judicial police in Lille, said the prosecutor of Douai, confirming an information of the website of the free daily 20 Minutes. Both hearings were conducted as part of a preliminary inquiry in March by the prosecutor of Douai following a denunciation of the auditors of Soginorpa the previous month, said Attorney Douai, Eric Vaillant.
Cette enquête pour "abus de biens sociaux" porte sur l'utilisation présumée de la carte bancaire de la Soginorpa par Jean-Pierre Kucheida, président de la SAS Soginorpa et président de l'Epinorpa, actionnaire public de la Soginorpa, à des fins personnelles, selon le procureur de Douai. Les dépenses litigieuses s'élèvent à 47 000 euros, dépensés entre 2004 et 2011, somme que le député et maire de Liévin, depuis 1981, a commencé à rembourser, selon le magistrat. M. Kucheida n'a pas été entendu à ce jour.This investigation for "misuse of corporate assets" concerns the alleged use of the credit card of Soginorpa by Jean-Pierre Kucheida, President of SAS Soginorpa and president of the Epinorpa, the public shareholder Soginorpa, for personal purposes, according to the prosecutor of Douai. The expenditure at issue amounted to 47,000 euros, spent between 2004 and 2011, whic amount Kucheida, Lievin's MP and mayor since 1981, has begun to pay back, according to the magistrate. Mr. Kucheida has not been auditioned to date.
Par ailleurs, quatre enquêtes préliminaires ont été ouvertes par le parquet de Lille à la suite de rapports de la chambre régionale des comptes (CRC) et de lettres de l'ancien maire d'Hénin-Beaumont, Gérard Dalongeville, mis en examen et révoqué dans une affaire de fausses factures, au sujet d'accusations de financement occulte de la fédération PS du Pas-de-Calais. Le PS a gelé l'investiture de M. Kucheida pour les législatives dans l'attente des résultats d'une commission d'enquête interne, dont les conclusions devraient être connues à la mi-mai.In addition, four preliminary investigations have been opened by the prosecutor of Lille following reports of the regional audit (CRC) and letters of the former mayor of Henin-Beaumont, Gerard Dalongeville, indicted and revoked in a case of false invoices, on charges of secret funding of the Federation PS Pas de Calais. The PS has frozen the inauguration of Mr. Kucheida for legislation pending the results of an internal board of inquiry, whose findings are expected in mid-May.

The PS has sticky fingers, hence the scores of the FN in this depressed former mining region.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 11th, 2012 at 03:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Condamnation des "Inrocks" pour avoir diffamé la fédération PS du Pas-de-Calais Condemnation of "Inrocks" for defaming the Federation PS Pas de Calais
Les Inrockuptibles ont été condamnés par le tribunal de grande instance de Paris, mercredi 9 mai, à 1 euro de dommages et intérêts pour avoir diffamé la fédération socialiste du Pas-de-Calais en publiant en décembre un article sur des malversations présumées au sein du parti. La fédération réclamait 50 000 euros. L'hebdomadaire devra en outre verser 4 000 euros de frais de justice aux demandeurs et publier le jugement dans ses colonnes.The Inrockuptible s were convicted by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris, Wednesday, May 9, at 1 euro in damages for defaming the socialist federation of the Pas de Calais by publishing an article in December alleged misuse of funds within the party. The federation demanded 50,000 euros. The weekly will also pay a 4000 euro legal costs and publish the judgment in its columns.
L'enquête litigieuse, intitulée "La bombe judiciaire qui menace le PS", avait été publiée par Les Inrocks le 7 décembre. Les journalistes Benoît Collombat et David Servenay y faisaient état de malversations financières visant notamment le député-maire PS de Liévin Jean-Pierre Kucheida et l'ancien maire socialiste d'Hénin-Beaumont, Gérard Dalongeville.The survey issue, entitled "The judicial bomb that threatens the PS", was published by The Inrocks December 7. Journalists David Benoit and Collombat Servenay alleged financial misconduct on the part of the PS MP and mayor of Liévin Jean-Pierre Kucheida and former Socialist mayor of Henin-Beaumont, Gerard Dalongeville.
Dans l'enquête, Les Inrocks décrivaient les relations incestueuses présumées entre la fédération socialiste du Pas-de-Calais et certaines sociétés d'économie mixte comme Adevia, dirigée par M. Kucheida. "Je peux vous assurer sur l'honneur qu'il n'y a aucune connection entre ces sociétés et la fédération socialiste du Pas-de-Calais", avait dit à l'audience la première secrétaire de la fédération départementale, Catherine Génisson, avant de rappeler que M. Dalongeville avait été exclu du PS en 2001.In the survey, The Inrocks described the alleged incestuous relations between the Socialist Federation of the Pas-de-Calais and certain s mixed-economy companies such as Adevia, headed by Mr. Kucheida. "I can assure you on my honor that there is no connection between these companies and the Socialist Federation of the Pas de Calais" , told the hearing the first secretary of the departmental federation, Catherine Génisson before reminding the court that Mr. Dalongeville had been excluded from the PS in 2001.
PAS ASSEZ DE "DISTANCIATION"
NOT ENOUGH "DISTANCING"
La 17e chambre civile a finalement déclaré nulle l'assignation délivrée aux deux journalistes, en raison d'irrégularités de procédure. En revanche, elle a condamné le directeur de la publication de l'hebdomadaire. Les magistrats ont estimé que "les pratiques illégales" dénoncées dans l'article étaient bien diffamatoires envers la fédération.The 17 th Civil Division finally declared void the subpoena issued to the two journalists, because of procedural irregularities. However, it condemned the managing editor of the weekly. The judges ruled that "illegal practices" denounced in the article were indeed defamatory to the federation.
Par ailleurs, ils ont considéré qu'aucune des quatorze pièces produites par les journalistes et aucun des témoignages recueillis "ne prouve la réalité de l'implication de la fédération (...) dans l'organisation d'un système illégal de financement occulte par détournement de fonds publics". Si toutes ces pièces "confirment des graves dysfonctionnements dans la gestion de la commune d'Hénin-Beaumont et les dérives des finances locales", ces éléments, juge le tribunal, apparaissent "cependant insuffisants pour autoriser les auteurs de l'enquête à écrire un article dont la lecture ne laisse aucun doute sur la véracité des graves accusations de financement illégal portées par le seul Gérard Dalongeville".Moreover, they considered that none of the fourteen pieces produced by journalists and none of the testimonies "proves the reality of the involvement of the federation (...) in organizing an illegal system of covert funding by embezzlement ". If all these pieces "confirms the serious shortcomings in the management of the municipality of Henin-Beaumont and slack management of local finances" , these elements, the court ruled, appear "however insufficient to allow the authors of investigation to write an article whose reading leaves no doubt on the veracity of serious allegations of illegal financing concerning only Gerard Dalongeville ".
Considérant que les journalistes n'avaient pas fait preuve "d'assez de distanciation et de prudence dans l'expression" et qu'ils auraient dû contacter Mme Génisson ou son prédécesseur, le tribunal leur a refusé le bénéfice de la bonne foi.Whereas the journalists had not demonstrated "enough distance and caution in the phrasing" and should have contact me M Génisson or her predecessor, the court denied them the benefit of good faith.

Les Inrockuptibles is an excellent cultural magazine.
I read the article when it came out, and have been surprised that so little had come of it. Visibly, it has indirectly given rise to the judicial proceedings mentioned above.

So, for the moment, no new proof of illegal financing of the PS by siphoning of the social housing organizations. "Only" individual corruption, and one more sitting PS MP torpedoed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 11th, 2012 at 04:04:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Vers une candidature de Mélenchon à Hénin-Beaumont Towards a Mélenchon bid for Henin-Beaumont
La candidature de Jean-Luc Mélenchon dans la 11e circonscription du Pas-de-Calais, qui comprend Hénin-Beaumont, se préciserait. Interrogé vendredi 11 mai sur France Info, l'ex-candidat du Front de gauche à la présidentielle a répondu qu'affronter Marine Le Pen qui se présente dans cette même circonscription serait "un beau symbole".The candidacy of Jean-Luc Melenchon in the 11 th constituency of Pas de Calais, which includes Henin-Beaumont, is taking shape. Asked Friday, May 11 on France Info former Left Front candidate for president replied that facing Marine Le Pen who is running in this district would "a beautiful symbol" .
"Ça va être une bataille homérique en quelque sorte avec une symbolique extrêmement puissante puisque c'est le berceau du mouvement ouvrier français et que c'est en même temps l'endroit où Mme Le Pen, par bravade, a décidé d'aller s'installer car, elle, elle habite le château de Montretout, elle n'est pas du tout du Pas-de-Calais !", a-t-il jugé. "It'll be a Homeric battle in some way with an extremely powerful symbolic since it is the cradle of the French labor movement and this is also where Madame Le Pen, out of bravado, decided to go because she lives Montretout Castle, it is not at all in the Pas de Calais ", he said.
"D'accord, elle fait un score fort mais elle ne profite que d'une chose : l'état de délabrement de la gauche socialiste là-bas", a-t-il estimé. "La fédération est mise sous tutelle, c'est un paquet d'intrigues et de difficultés de toutes sortes sur lesquelles je me garderai bien de me prononcer. Les gens de gauche en ont un peu marre d'être pris en tenaille entre soit le Front national soit des socialistes qui se querellent entre eux et qui sont assez largement discrédités", a-t-il poursuivi. "Okay, she made a strong score but it results from only one thing: the dilapidated state of the socialist left there" , he said. "The federation [the local PS] is under guardianship, it is a mess of intrigues and difficulties of all kinds which I am careful not to pronounce judgement on. The people of the left are a little tired of being caught between the National Frontand the socialists who quarrel among themselves and are quite widely discredited, "he said .
"SANS CIRCONSCRIPTION FIXE" "NO FIXED DISTRICT"
L'eurodéputé, qui a finalement choisi de se lancer dans la bataille des législatives, doit officiellement annoncer le choix de sa circonscription samedi. Si Hénin-Beaumont tient la corde, plusieurs autres possibilités sont évoquées : Paris, Marseille, Montpellier ou encore le Val-de-Marne.The MEP, who finally decided to launch in the legislative battle, must officially announce choice of his district Saturday. Henin-Beaumont is favourite, but several other possibilities were mentioned: Paris, Marseille, Montpellier and the Val de Marne.
"Nous voulons donner toutes ses chances à la gauche et je crois que ce pourrait être une candidature de rassemblement", a poursuivi le numéro un communiste. "Le Parti socialiste a ouvert des discussions qui portent sur une cinquantaine de circonscriptions où la gauche est menacée d'être absente au deuxième tour", a par ailleurs relevé M. Laurent. "Pour ce qui concerne le Front de gauche, il y a peu de propositions faites par le PS", mais "nous pensons arriver à un accord sur quelques circonscriptions", de l'ordre d'une douzaine. "We want to give every chance to the left and I think this might be a candidacy to bring the left together" , said the number one communist. "The Socialist Party has opened a lot of discussions about fifty constituencies where the Left is threatened to be absent in the second round" , further noted Mr. Laurent [PCF national secretary]. "As for the Left Front, there are few proposals made by the PS" but "we think we can get agreement on some constituencies" , about a dozen.
Visiblement, le PS ne voit pas les choses de la même façon : Bruno Le Roux, l'un des porte-parole de François Hollande, a annoncé que son parti maintiendrait son candidat, Philippe Kemel, au premier tour. "Nous aurons un candidat au premier tour, et nous nous unirons derrière le candidat de la gauche le mieux placé au second. Si c'est M. Mélenchon, nous serons heureux de le soutenir et de l'accueillir sur les bancs de l'Assemblée", a-t-il déclaré sur Europe 1.Visibly, the PS does not see things the same way: Bruno Le Roux, one of the spokesmen of Francois Hollande, announced that his party would maintain its candidate, Philip Kemel, in the first round. "We will have a candidate in the first round, and we will unite behind the candidate of the left in the best position to second. If it is Mr. Mélenchon, we are happy to support him, and welcome him to the benches of the Assembly " he said on Europe 1.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 11th, 2012 at 07:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Législatives : Dominique Baert (PS) sera tout de même candidat dans la 8e du Nord (AUDIO) - Metropole Lilloise - La Voix du Nord Legislative: Dominique Baert (PS) will still be a candidate in the 8th North (AUDIO) - Lille Metropole - La Voix du Nord

Cette fois c'est officiel : Dominique Baert, maire socialiste de Wattrelos et député sortant dans la 8e circonscription, sera candidat à sa propre succession.

This time it's official: Dominique Baert, Wattrelos Socialist mayor and incumbent in the 8th district, will be a candidate to succeed himself.

«J'y vais car le candidat Vert ne me paraît pas en mesure de rassembler la gauche»
«Le risque Front National est non négligeable»
"I'm standing because the Green candidate does not seem able to muster the left"
"The National Front risk is not insignificant"
Pourtant, les instances du PS l'avaient écarté, dans le cadre des accords nationaux avec les Verts, au profit du Roubaisien Slimane Tir (EELV). Dominique Baert, qui n'a pas digéré l'affront, décide donc de se présenter quand même, estimant que le candidat de l'union PS-EELV n'a pas toutes les chances de faire barrage au FN dans « sa » circonscription, à cheval sur Roubaix et Wattrelos. Il doute par ailleurs de la « fidélité » de Slimane Tir envers François Hollande.However, instances of the PS had ruled, in the context of national agreements with the Greens in favor of Roubaix resident Slimane Tir (EELV). Dominique Baert, who has not digested the affront, decides to stand anyway, considering that the candidate of the union PS-EELV does not have all the chances of blocking the FN in "his " district, straddling Wattrelos and Roubaix. He also questions the "fidelity" of Slimane Shoots to Francois Hollande.
Dominique Baert compte se présenter avec son étiquette PS, du moins tant qu'on ne lui retire pas...Dominique Baert intends to stand under the PS banner, at least until it is taken away from him ...


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 11th, 2012 at 10:45:32 AM EST
The Hunting and Fishing party? :)

I know they have very weak popular support, but they also have some regional strongholds (like Normandie), so can they count on any parliamentary seats?

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

by Starvid on Sat May 12th, 2012 at 02:05:51 PM EST
They have been "absorbed" into the UMP (to the surprise of no one).
by Bernard on Sun May 13th, 2012 at 07:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did they get any policy concessions from the UMP on eg hunting issues? Or did they just do it to save the careers of the leading people of the party?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, what do you think? :-)
by Bernard on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:56:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Danièle Hoffman-Rispal (PS) suppléante de Cécile Duflot (EELV) à Paris Danièle Hoffman-Rispal (PS) Alternate for Cécile Duflot (EELV) in Paris
Danièle Hoffman-Rispal, députée PS sortante à Paris, a accepté d'être la suppléante de Cécile Duflot, qui avait obtenu l'investiture du Parti socialiste dans le cadre de l'accord conclu en novembre entre EELV et le PS, dans la 6e circonscription de la capitale aux législatives, après des mois de tensions et le risque d'une candidature dissidente, a-t-on appris samedi 12 mai. Mmes Hoffman-Rispal et Duflot - dont le nom circule pour entrer au gouvernement, ce qui laisserait la voie libre à sa suppléante pour siéger à l'Assemblée - doivent tenir lundi une conférence de presse commune.Danièle Hoffman-Rispal, PS outgoing MP in Paris, has agreed to be the Alternate of Cécile Duflot, who had obtained the nomination of the Socialist Party as part of the agreement reached in November between the PS and EELV, in the 6 th district of the capital in the legislative elections, after months of tensions and the threat of a dissenting candidacy, it was announced on Saturday, May 12. Madames Hoffman-Rispal and Duflot - who is widely tipped to enter the government, leaving the way open for her alternate to sit in the Assembly - intend to hold a joint press conference on Monday.

Being a minister in the French government is incompatible with being a member of Parliament; nevertheless, typically, a majority of ministers are selected from Parliament (Assembly and Senate), and therefore resign their seats. In the French system, this does not lead to by-elections, because each district actually elects a two-person ticket : the MP has a suppléant (Alternate) who can replace them in case they die, go mad or join the government.

Cécile Duflot, who has been the high-profile Secretary of, successively, Les Verts and EELV over the last four years, is considered a dead cert for a portfolio in Hollande's government.  This enables her to resolve the problem posed by the revolt of the sitting MP in the district "gifted" to her by the PS (who had threatened to run against her, without the official backing of the PS).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon May 14th, 2012 at 11:35:27 AM EST
Législatives : à gauche, petites tractations entre amis Legislative: Left, small deals between friends
A gauche, l'union est un combat - quand elle n'est pas un jeu de dupes. Qu'on en juge. Depuis dimanche 13 mai, le PS rencontre EELV et le PCF à huis clos pour régler un problème extrêmement délicat : le partage des circonscriptions. Les intentions affichées sont des plus nobles : faire barrage au FN dans les circonscriptions où la gauche court un risque d'élimination dès le premier tour. Mais les réalités du marchandage sont, comme toujours, moins enthousiasmantes.

Lire aussi : Législatives : les réponses à vos questions

Lire aussi : Hollande fait ses adieux au PS et appelle à une "large" majorité

On the left, union is a struggle - when it's not a fool's game. Discerned. Since Sunday, May 13, the PS meets EELV and the PCF in camera to resolve an extremely sensitive issue: the division of constituencies. The intentions are noble: to block the FN in constituencies where the Left is at risk of elimination in the first round. But the realities of bargaining are, as always, less exciting.
Les données du problème sont issues des scores respectifs du premier tour : 2,3 % pour les écologistes, 11,1 % pour le Front de gauche (FG). Et l'accord avec le PS dont bénéficie EELV (63 circonscriptions réservées) aiguise évidemment les appétits. Notamment celui du PCF, qui a entrepris de négocier seul - c'est-à-dire sans le Parti de gauche de Jean-Luc Mélenchon - ses circonscriptions. "Au Front de gauche, on est composés de partis différents, justifie Lydie Benoît, chargée des élections au PCF. Personne ne nous empêchera de discuter avec qui on veut."The problem data are derived from the respective first-round scores: 2.3% for environmentalists, 11.1% for the Left Front (FG). And the agreement with the PS obtained by EELV (63 reserved constituencies) obviously sharpens the appetite. Including that of the PCF, which has undertaken to negotiate its constituencies alone - that is to say without the Left Party of Jean-Luc Melenchon . "The Left Front is composed of different parties, justifies Lydia Benedict, in charge of the elections the PCF. Nobody will stop us from discussing with whom we want."
GOURMANDISE
TREATS
Un point de vue que ne partage pas le PG, exclu des négociations jusqu'à lundi. Dans l'après-midi, Eric Coquerel (PG) mettait en garde : "Il n'y a pas d'accord Front de gauche si on n'y est pas !" Une protestation qui a finalement permis au PG d'être remis dans la course dans la soirée. Sans pour autant que les négociations avancent.A view not shared by the PG, excluded from the negotiations until Monday. In the afternoon, Eric Coquerel (PG) warned: "There is no deal if the Left Front is not there!" A protest that eventually led to the PG rejoining the race that evening. But negotiations did not make much progress.
En cause : la gourmandise de chacun. EELV veut conserver ses acquis, mais est conscient de devoir faire quelques sacrifices. Les écologistes savent déjà qu'ils devront lâcher quatre à cinq circonscriptions réservées au FG. Il est notamment question de celles de Guingamp (Côtes-d'Armor) et de Bergerac (Dordogne), deux très bonnes circonscriptions, que récupérerait le PCF, sans oublier les Pyrénées-Orientales, où se présente Louis Aliot, vice-président du FN.The cause: greed of everyone. EELV wants to keep its gains, but is aware it must make some sacrifices. Environmentalists already know they will release four to five reserved constituencies for the FG. This will include those of Guingamp (Côtes d'Armor) and Bergerac (Dordogne), two very good districts, that the PCF would recover, without forgetting the Pyrenees-Orientales, where Louis Aliot, Vice President of the FN, is standing.
"FICELÉ D'AVANCE" "All wrapped up"
De son côté, le PG a réclamé trois circonscriptions : dans le Val-de-Marne, le Jura et le Rhône. Mais, pour l'instant, le PS accepte de lâcher uniquement les deux dernières. D'où un communiqué fâché du PG dans la soirée, pour regretter "l'attitude du PS, qui n'a pas voulu discuter de propositions en dehors d'un scénario qu'il avait ficelé d'avance".For its part, the AG claimed three constituencies: the Val-de-Marne, the Jura and the Rhone. But for now, the SP agrees to release only the last two. Where a statement of the angry PG that evening for regret "the attitude of the PS, who did not want to discuss proposals outside a script he had wrapped up in advance" .
"La seule question, c'est de quoi on parle, souligne François Lamy, l'un des négociateurs du PS. Uniquement des circonscriptions à risque FN-droite au second tour, ou plus ? Ce qui m'importe, c'est de trouver un accord sur les circonscriptions où il y a un risque FN-droite." "The only question is what we're talking about, said Francois Lamy, one of the negotiators of the PS. Only districts at risk of a FN-right duel in the second round, or more? What matters to me is to find agreement on exchanges where there is a risk of FN-right. "
DISSIDENCES ISSUES DU PS
dissent FROM THE PS
Pourtant, le risque FN-droite n'est pas le seul problème à régler entre partenaires. Les écologistes doivent affronter depuis des mois les dissidences issues du PS, qui sont parfois difficiles à résoudre en raison de l'implication de poids lourds locaux.However, the risk FN-right is not the only issue to be settled between partners. Environmentalists have been confronting for months dissent from the PS, which are sometimes difficult to resolve because of the involvement of local heavyweights.
Si Cécile Duflot et Denis Baupin, à Paris, vont finalement se présenter sans aucune dissidence sur leur route, il n'en va pas de même pour Philippe Meirieu à Lyon, qui partira à la bataille face à Thierry Braillard, dauphin du maire socialiste, Gérard Collomb. A Roubaix, Dominique Baert, député du Nord et maire sortant (PS) de Wattrelos, affrontera l'écologiste Slimane Tir... pourtant investi par le PS.Cécile Duflot and Denis Baupin, in Paris, will finally come through without any dissent on their way, this does not apply to Philippe Meirieu in Lyon, who will go to battle against Thierry Braillard, protégé of the Socialist mayor, Gérard Collomb. In Roubaix, Dominique Baert, incumbent MP and mayor (PS) of Wattrelos, face ecologist Slimane Tir ... yet invested by the PS.
Voir aussi : la carte interactive des batailles à Paris See also: interactive map of battles in Paris
La cordialité de façade entre partenaires ne peut masquer de nombreuses divergences, dont une appréciation très différente, d'un parti à l'autre, sur ce qu'il est convenu d'appeler le "risque FN". Pour le PS et le PCF, ce sont 55 circonscriptions qui seraient concernées, tandis que les écologistes les évaluent à environ 90. Pour le PG, le problème est encore différent : il propose à ses partenaires de discuter d'un "bouclier antidroite" qui engloberait une centaine de circonscriptions !The facade of cordiality between partners can hide many differences, including an assessment very different from one party to another, on what is of call the "risk FN". For the PS and the PCF, these are 55 constituencies that would be affected, while the environmentalists estimate that about 90. For PG, the problem is different: it offers its partners discuss a "anti-right shield" that would comprise a hundred constituencies!
En attendant un accord qui n'a pas vu le jour, chacun reprend ses billes. Les candidats EELV investis à Guingamp et Bergerac ont été renvoyés au front, quitte à devoir abandonner de nouveau leur circonscription à des "amis" de gauche vendredi, date limite du dépôt des candidatures aux législatives. Les candidats sont priés d'avoir des nerfs.Pending agreement that has not emerged, each takes his marbles and goes home. Candidates EELV invested in Guingamp and Bergerac were returned to the front, even though they may have to abandon their constituency to their "friends" of the left on Friday, deadline for candidatures. Applicants are requested to have strong nerves.

As predicted, the PCF have gone back to their cosy habits of negotiating with the PS, leaving Mélenchon's Parti de Gauche out in the cold. The PG are trying to climb back in through the window of "anti-FN" arrangements, on which they place a very wide interpretation.

Meanwhile, also as predicted, EELV learns (in case we had forgotten) that promises are only binding on those that believe them.

No doubt I will post more anon on the Lyon constituencies mentioned.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 08:26:11 AM EST
As feared, the deal failed.

The PS, FDG and EELV were trying to make a deal to present a common candidate in those districts where the division of the left vote in the first round created a risk of a second round between the UMP and the FN, with no left candidate. There are something like 50 of them, of which very few are winnable for the left.

It seems that Mélenchon's Parti de Gauche was using the discussions to ask for winnable districts -- a legitimate demand in itself, but not the one on the agenda.

In these situations, the PS always holds the whip hand, and you don't get anything for nothing. The PCF and EELV are used to this process; the PG, as combative newcomer, was not in a position of strength. Mélenchon, having announced his ambition to supplant the PS as the main force on the left over the next couple of electoral cycles, got the treatment I expected from the PS, who are absolutely ruthless about preserving their hegemony.

Apparently the PCF were prepared to sign off an agreement without the PG; but the PS, chuckling to itself, refused this.

(I note that EELV were prepared to cede 6 of their 63 "reserved" districts to the PG. But, no deal having been signed, they will maintain their candidates.)

Meanwhile, out of the 63 districts where the PS supports an EELF candidate, 20 "dissident" candidates of the left are running.

Législatives: une vingtaine de dissidents malgré l'accord PS-Verts - Libération Legislative: twenty dissidents despite the agreement PS-Greens - Liberation
D'après David Cormand, chargé des élections pour EELV, «il s'agit de socialistes, de divers gauche du coin plus ou moins soutenus par les socialistes ou des radicaux de gauche comme à Lyon» où le maire (PS) Gérard Collomb appuie la candidature de son adjoint (PRG) Thierry Braillard face à Philippe Meirieu. «Entre 5 et 10 de ces dissidences posent problème car il y a un risque, face à un Front national haut, d'éliminination de la gauche au premier tour»According to David Cormand, in charge of elections for EELV, "they are socialists or local non-party candidates of the left, more or less supported by their local PS, or Left Radicals in the case of Lyon" where the mayor (PS) Gerard Collomb supports the candidacy of his deputy (PRG) Philippe Thierry Braillard against Meirieu. "Between 5 and 10 of these dissidents are problematic because there is a risk, if the National Front gets a good score, of eliminination of the left in the first round"

Winning the battle of legitimacy in the first round in such a context is hard, but doable (I will perhaps expand on this one of these days)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 22nd, 2012 at 05:27:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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