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07 May 2007 Blog Home : May 2007 : Permalink

French Election Analysis

Some day after thoughts.
Firstly the "blood in the streets" things seems to have been slightly overhyped. Yes some anarchists rioted here and there with claims that Sako is a Fascist, but the banlieues failed to explode in an orgy of rioting and protest as certain folks hoped predicted. Perhaps they will do so tonight?

One thing I notice is that whether or not Karcher wish to be associated with Sarko, the cartoonists have tied the two together - both Delize and the swiss Chappatte have Karcher related drawings today:
A victory for Karcher A victory for Karcher - 2
Over at the swiss site LeTemps (which has the Chappatte cartoon linking their lead article) there is an excellent interactive graphic showing how each department voted. Although the chart makes it looks like a sea of UMP blue outside of, Brittany, the SW and centre, looking at the numbers makes it clear that in most departments voters were well split between the two.
Breakdown of the vote by department
The department I live in - Alpes Maritimes - is, as far as I can tell, the most pro-Sarko of any, with a 68% to 32% vote for Sarko. In what looks like the most socialist department - Ariège (on the Spanish border - S of Toulouse) - Sego won by 59.5% to 40.5% but there are any number of departments where the vote was much closer - 51% or 52% to 49% or 48% to one candidate or the other. So yes Sarko has his mandate and it is far clearer than some others (e.g. Bush in 2000, Merkel) but it isn't perhaps as sweeping a one as he might have hoped for. [It was however pretty much exactly what the opinion polls predicted so no embarrassments for the pollsters]
Of course the president will have to wait for the results of the upcoming general parliamentary election before he can do anything major, such as take on the unions. The unions have made menacing noises about strikes to fight any proposals he may make to change the laws about industrial action so we will see if they are stupid enough to try some pre-emptive strikes before the elections. I say stupid enough because, as far as I can tell, the best way to get more people to vote for Sarko's UMP would be for the unions and other nutters of the far left to start striking, rioting etc. etc. It is, as I say, hard to say whether what I hear in the Alpes Maritimes compares to how the folk in Toulouse (Haute Garronne 55% Sego) or L'Escroc's home department of Corrèze (53% Sego) think, let alone those in the grimy industrial north or the banlieues, but here in 06-land we think that Mrs Thatcher's approach to strikers (don't give in) is to be emulated. On the other hand the Alpes Maritimes is a rather exceptional department - it is probably one of the richest in France and certainly one of the most economically vibrant, but its major businesses are tourism and the looking after of retirees so possibly elsewhere they are more sympathetic to the strikers. Here we have (yet another) local SNCF strike as the "workers" object to various structural reforms that are being proposed and hence Sarko's proposaly about minimum transport services being required seem to be quite popular.

What else? EURSOC points out that Sego didn't do badly - compared to past socialist challengers anyway - but it seems pretty likely that the socialist party is going to collapse into squabbling between ZANU Labour copiers (Sego & some other younger sorts) and the old leftwing dinosaurs (Fabuis, Jospin etc.). The only question is whether this will be before or after the parliamentary elections. With luck it will begin to break out before the elections and thus help Sarko gain a clear parliamentary mandate too.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin