Sun Dec 6th, 2015 at 04:27:15 AM EST
[UPDATED] Sunday evening 13th December
On Sundays 6th and 13th of December, regional elections will be held in France. It is to be expected that the Front National will win two of the twelve regions on the French mainland, with a possibility of a third or even a fourth.
The left held 20 of the 21 regions (before the recent mergers) in the previous two elections, in 2003 and 2009. Instinctively, one expected a near wipeout this time around, but France's electoral geography doesn't work like that. It will hold at least four this time, quite likely six or seven (my estimation), possibly even more...
[I will be updating this diary over the next week or so as the situation evolves]
SECOND ROUND RESULTS
Seven for the right; five for the left; zero for the FN. Oh, and one for the Corsican regionalists/nationalists.
CORRECTED national figures :
Right 40.6%, Left 31.6%, FN 27.4%
Bearing in mind the absence of the left in two of the most populous regions. But still...
Verdict : Sarkozy wins the second round on points.
[editor's note, by Migeru] Front-paged - use as an open thread.
It's a two-round election, proportional with a bonus for the leading list. Any list with over 10% can go to the second round; any list with over 5% can merge with another list between rounds. There is a bonus of 25% of seats for the leading list in the second round, which effectively guarantees a majority.
In practice, in all of the metropolitan regions, there will be three lists in the second round : left, right and FN. This map is based on the most recent poll result in each region : voting intentions for the second round. My own region, Auvergne Rhone Alpes, is deemed too close to call (between left and right). But in my opinion, all four of the light-blue regions also fall in that category.
The poll numbers for first-round voting intentions on the national level give rise to alarmist headlines : the lists of the FN and of the right are at 28 to 30% each, with the PS a poor third at 24% or so. But this ignores the fact that the FN will pick up basically zero extra votes in the second round, and the right very few. The PS lists, on the contrary, will pick up most of the votes from the Communist and Green lists, which are each around 5 or 6%.
In fact, in three of the four "light-blue" regions, the sum of the first-round voting intentions for the left is greater than the sum of the lists of the right (excluding FN of course). Yet the voting intentions for the second round favour the right-wing list in each case. This illustrates the anger and demotivation that is widespread on the left, and the difficulty that many will have in voting PS in the second round. We'll have to see how that pans out in the second round...
Looking at how the poll numbers have evolved in the past few months, it's remarkable that the attacks of November seem to have had practically no influence at all. Those who imagined a dramatic rise in the FN's numbers seem, so far, to be wrong.
[Monday morning update :]
The three dark-blue regions will be Republicans/FN duels next Sunday, after the Socialists withdrew their lists. Ile de France and Auvergne-Rhone Alpes (grey) seem likely to stay left. Others pretty much as coloured.
The headline national numbers :
|Front National :|| 28%|
|Republicans and allies :|| 27%|
|Socialists :|| 23%|
|Greens :|| 6%|
|Communists :|| 5%|
Overall, a stunning defeat for Sarkozy's Republicans.
[Midweek update :]
In the end, the Northeast region PS list did not withdraw : despite orders and threats from Paris, and an attempt at getting at least 50% of the candidates on the list to withdraw, which would have invalidated the list.
So, it looks like Florial Philippot is the most likely to be the first FN leader of a region. Because in both the North and in Provence, the Le Pens are trailing, according to opinion polls : 47/53 for Marine, 46/54 for her niece. The PS strategy of withdrawing their lists seems to work; though as Mélenchon has said, OK to vote against the FN, as long as there is an actual difference with the other list. In the North, it's clear enough. In Provence, much less so : Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is old-time hard-right, moral conservative, like her grandfather, and like her opponent, Christian Estrosi.
Meanwhile, business as usual : the left lists have merged in seven regions, failing to do so only in Brittany. The PS had 34% there in the first round, and no doubt feels confident of victory; therefore turned down the offers of the Greens, judged too extremist (i.e. too demanding). Of course, the leader of the PS list is the war hero (sorry, Minister for Peace) Le Drian.
In all other regions where it is present, the PS has absorbed the Green lists, and the PC lists where these reached the 5% threshold. In the Ile de France region, the program of the united list calls for banning diesel in Paris...
Which brings us to the COP 21. Which looks like it's coming to an accord, which is better than no accord, and which might just boost the left... What is the FN's position on global warming, can someone remind me?
[Sunday 13th update :]
Voting closes in half an hour in cities, but the Belgian papers have already told us that the FN gets zero regions :
55/45 in both the North and in Provence, we get the allegedly moderate right and neither of the Le Pens.
More surprising, Philippot crashes out in the Northeast, despite a three-way wich was much to his advantage.
A number of close left/right races elsewhere, including Ile de France and Rhone Alpes...