Monthly Archives: March 2010

Iraq 2010

The final results of the Iraqi legislative elections held on March 7 in Iraq were announced by the nation’s electoral commission. According to the final official results, the Iraqi National Movement led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has narrowly defeated the State of Law Coalition led by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The National Iraqi Alliance which includes former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari comes in a rather distant third. Turnout was 62.4%, higher turnout in Sunni areas and lower turnout in Shi’a areas.

The Iraqi National Movement, commonly known as al-Iraqiya is led by former secular Shiite Prime Minister Ayad Allawi but includes most Sunni parties and could be considered as an alliance of Allawi’s secular elements and the various Sunni movements. Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition is largely Shiite-led and based, though it does not include clerical Shi’a movements. These movements, such as the Sadrist party, are members of the National Iraqi Alliance which includes other Shi’a parties and whose major leaders include Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani. In Kurdistan, the race was between the Kurdistan List, which includes the two traditional organizations which dominate Kurdish politics: the KDP and PUK. Against them was aligned the Movement for Change, a reformist party led by former members of the PUK and which won nearly 25% of the vote in last year’s Kurdish elections. Two smaller Islamic movements also contested the election in Kurdistan.

Here are the results announced by the electoral commission:

Iraqi National Movement (al-Iraqiya) 25.87% winning 91 seats (+55)
State of Law Coalition 25.76% winning 89 seats (+76)
National Iraqi Alliance 19.43% winning 70 seats (-47)
Kurdistan List 15.27% winning 43 seats (-10)
Movement for Change 4.36% winning 8 seats (+8)
Unity Alliance of Iraq 2.9% winning 4 seats (+4)
Iraqi Accord Front 2.72% winning 6 seats (-38)
Kurdistan Islamic Union 2.27% winning 4 seats (-1)
Islamic Group of Kurdistan 1.41% winning 2 seats (-1)
Minorities 8 seats (+8)

I haven’t found regional results (yet), but it seems that Allawi’s list led in the more Sunni areas (Anbar, Diyala, Salah ad-Din and Ninawa), while the National Iraqi Alliance led in 3 Shi’a governorates (Maysan, Dhi Qar, Al-Qadisiyyah) and the Kurdistan List was ahead in the three Kurdish governorates plus the divided Kirkuk governorate. The State of Law Coalition leads elsewhere, all in Shi’a areas, and also in the centres of Baghdad and Basra (as well as Najaf and Karbala).

While the UN and US have accepted the results of the election, Maliki has not yet accepted his loss and has called for a manual recount of votes, something which the UN does not want. The results need to be approved by the judiciary, which would take weeks, and the next step will be to build a shaky coalition. Furthermore, with the US troops due to be out of the country in five months’ time, it will be hard for there to be a peaceful and calm transition if the results are contested or if coalition-building takes a long time.

French Regionals 2010: Second Round

Runoff results by constituency

The second round, or runoffs, of the French regional elections were held on Sunday, March 21. 25 of the 26 regions in France and overseas voted on Sunday (Guadeloupe’s incumbent President won an historic first round re-election). The left dominated throughout France, and the right saw results slightly worse than it’s showings in 2004, which were already quite bad. However, the right had some positive points with its victory in Alsace and gaining two regions overseas. The far-right, which had already seen surprisingly good results in the first round, re-edited this in the runoff (it qualified for the runoff in around 10 regions) by gaining off its first round results where it was qualified.

Turnout, which was 46.34% in the first round, went up to 51.22%, a lot of this higher turnout came from right-wing voters, because the right did not do as bad as expected by pre-electoral polling. Again, turnout was highest in Corsica with 69.01% and lowest in Lorraine with 47.06%.

The Ministry of the Interior has weird last classifications, but here is a quick overview of national results for the main parties and coalitions. Guadeloupe is included, and errors are likely.

Left (Left, PS, EE, DVG, FG) 54.51% (+5.02%) winning 1,208 seats (+46)
Right (UMP and allies) 35.47% (-1.33%) winning 515 seats (-11)
FN (in 10 regions) 9.17% (-3.21%) winning 118 seats (-38)
MoDem (in 1 region) 0.84% winning 10 seats
Regionalists 0.60% (+0.21%) winning 29 seats (-7)

The major winner is, of course, the left and the PS in particular. It increases its 2004 runoff results in almost all regions, and 2004 had already been excellent for them. It loses no region (except Guyane and Réunion) while it does end 26 years of right-wing dominance in Corsica. All PS incumbents are re-elected and almost all see their majority increase by either a small or considerable margin. Its major local leaders, Rousset (Aquitaine), Huchon (IdF), Royal (Poitou-Charentes), Vauzelle (PACA) and Queyranne (RA) are re-elected and all except Vauzelle have a larger majority than in 2004. Frêche isn’t Martine Aubry’s best friend, but he remains on the left (nominally or not, it’s not my point) and his strong re-election is also notable and a victory for the left. In the runup to 2012, Aubry, responsible at least a bit for the PS’ victory, is strengthened, but Royal who wins a big 60% is definitely even more strengthened. She knows it well, because she allowed herself to snub Aubry and other PS regional presidents by not attending a ‘group photo’ and by establishing herself as the president of an independent republic.

The danger for the PS (which lost 2007 after winning 2004, remember) is its evolution into a party of local barons and local party bosses, or the party’s transformation into the 2010 version of the old Radicals. A party with a strong local network played upon by party barons and bosses, but a weaker national cohort. But with Sarkozy sliding further, and 2011-2012 looking bloody for the right, such an hypothesis looks slightly less likely.

The right is defeated, but a comfortable win in Alsace and two gains overseas make the defeat a bit less gloomy. In addition, the right did slightly better than predicted in most regions, thanks mainly to higher turnout from UMP voters. But, a defeat is a defeat and the right still does poorer than in 2004 in most regions and all cabinet ministers are defeated (only Joyandet is able to save his honour a bit, but others such as Pécresse and Bussereau are trounced). In Champagne-Ardenne, its only hope for a gain in metro France, the left builds on its 2004 margin and gets a comfortable margin over the right. In Corsica finally, a real political earthquake shook the island, ending 26 years of dominance by the right, and also shook the very foundations of the Rocca Serra political dynasty in Porto-Vecchio.

The consequence of the UMP’s defeat was a mini-shuffle in cabinet which saw Darcos and Martin Hirsch out and the entry of 3 newbies – all UMP. The young Chiraquien Francois Baroin becomes Minister of the Budget, Marc-Philippe Daubresse takes the new Ministry of Youth and Active Solidarities and the villepiniste Georges Tron becomes Secretary of State for the Public Function. The defeat also led Dominique de Villepin to announce the creation of an “alternative” club or party in June which will seek to take up the political centre. But already other centrists such Arthuis and Morin are seeking to “unite the centre” and re-affirm their independence vis-a-vis the UMP.

The FN is able to do what it was rarely able to do in the past: increase its vote in all regions where it qualified for the runoff. Some gains in one week, such as those in NPDC, Languedoc-Roussillon or even Picardie are very big. In PACA, Le Pen sr. ends his political career (well, maybe he ends his political career) with a big 23%. His daughter has proven that she’s built a new base for the FN in the northern coalfields, and her 22% result in her region sets her up for the succession battle to succeed her father (against rivals such as Gollnisch). Perhaps her strong showing in NPDC shows her ability, if she’s elected leader, to take the FN on a more blue-collar populist course in elections and break from the old boutiquier-Algérie francaise course her father had adopted early on in the 60s-70s.

Regional councillors by party, 2004 and 2010 (source: Ouest-France)

The left overall has around 1200 seats, against 500 or so for the right and 118 for the FN (which gains seats in 4 regions). One thing which is amazing is how little lines have changed in six years: only 11 less seats overall for the UMP (which gains seats overseas but loses 32 seats in metro France). The hard task is to figure out how many seats each party withing lists win. Ouest-France merits kudos for calculating a general (though not entirely accurate, these things are a real pain to figure out) view of how they split:

The PS and its closest allies have 754, up 40 from 2004. This includes 576 Socialists, but also 116 DVGs (such as Frêche’s 44 DVG or a few MRCs) and 62 Left Radicals. The Left Front has 102 seats, down from 191 Communists in 2004. This is the result of the Left Front’s independent strategy which prevented it from breaking 5% in a number of regions (or in Picardie where it didn’t merge with the PS). Around 95 or so of these 102 are Communists, while Besancenot’s NPA got two seats on the FG-NPA list in the Limousin.

The big winner is of course Europe Ecologie, which goes from 159 Greenies in 2004 to a total of 263 this year (including 4 UDB regionalists in Brittany and other regionalists such as Occitanistes in the south-west). Up 104 seats for the Greens and its close allies.

Out of 1722 metropolitan councillors, the left has 1119 seats, or around 64% of the seats.

The MoDem has only 10 seats, all in Aquitaine, down from 69 before the elections (according to Ouest-France). This doesn’t include MoDem dissidents on PS, EE or UMP lists such as the MoDem dissidents elected through Royal’s list in Poitou-Charentes.

The NC, thanks to its alliance with the UMP, is able to win between 64 and 74 seats (the party seems to be claiming more seats than it actually won due to various unclear etiquettes on some councillors). Philippe de Villiers’ MPF manages 10 seats, CPNT has 6 seats and there are around 50 other DVDs or members of the Presidential Majority. The majority gains seats on this graph because the MoDem’s councillors (all elected as UDF). usually sided with the right in a lot of cases or were classified with the right.

The FN loses 38 seats, and all 15 others are Corsican regionalists. 8 of the 12 others in 2004 were also Corsican regionalists, the remaining four were probably the 3 UDB in Brittany plus Christian Troadec elected in Brittany in 2004.

As in the first round, we’ll analyse each region in depth. Let’s go in order.

Alsace:

Philippe Richert (UMP) 46.16% winning 28 seats (+1)
Jacques Bigot (PS-EE) 39.27% winning 14 seats (+2)
Patrick Binder (FN) 14.57% winning 5 seats (-3)

Turnout was 51.09%. The right holds Alsace by a margin which is larger than originally expected, or larger than expected by polling, but given the major increase in turnout (43.4% in the first round), the right’s comfortable victory is probably the result of higher turnout. Turnout was indeed higher in the rural areas, which are traditionally on the right, than urban areas such as Strasbourg which traditionally provide the bulk of the left’s vote in Alsace. With 46%, Richert is able to improve on the 43.6% won by Adrien Zeller in 2004, probably the result of 2004 FN voters (22% in the runoff) voting for the right since around 2007. Unlike in neighbouring Moselle, most of the FN’s vote in Alsace comes from non-working class Protestant conservative rural voters who are obviously more likely to vote for the UMP in 2010 than working-class voters. Still, with 39%, the left wins its best result in Alsace in a long time, and Bigot improves on his 34% showing in 2004. What lacked for the left here were the centrist green MEI voters who voted for Fernique’s EE-MEI list in the first round but who were unwilling to vote PS in the runoff. Best proof or example in Fulleren, the small village which is Waechter’s stronghold (which the MEI always wins), which went heavily for Fernique in the first round but gave Richert a comfortable victory. The FN is unsurprisingly below the 18.5% theoretical result of the far-right in the first round, showing that the regionalist far-right Alsace d’abord voters (5%) did not vote much for Binder, preferring, like in 2004, the UMP.

The right is exceptionally strong in the northern part of the Bas-Rhin, which is Richert’s home turf, and wins in most of rural Alsace. The left, however, dominates in all three Strasbourg constituencies and does well in Strasbourg’s inner suburbs (notably Illkirch-Graffenstaden, which is Bigot’s home turf). In the more industrial and ethnically diverse Haut-Rhin, the left dominates around Mulhouse and the industrial (or old potash mining areas) in the southern reaches of the Alsatian Plain.

Aquitaine:

Alain Rousset (PS-EE-FG) 56.34% winning 58 seats (+1)
Xavier Darcos (UMP) 28.01% winning 17 seats (-4)
Jean Lassalle (MoDem) 15.65% winning 10 seats (+10)

Turnout was 52.94%. The left wins by a large margin in Aquitaine, definitely trouncing Xavier Darcos (who lost his cabinet position as Minister of Labour the next day…). Despite Lassalle’s candidacy, which could have attracted Green voters, Rousset wins almost all the first round votes of the Greens and the Left Front, and Lassalle’s gains between the two rounds likely came from new voters or perhaps some Green voters, whose loss was compensated by FN or regionalists voters voting for Rousset. Rousset had already won 54.9% in the 2004 runoff against Darcos and the FN (which loses all its 7 seats), and despite Lassalle, he increases his percentage to 56.3%. The right, with 28%, falls below the 33.5% line it had set for itself in 2004, though in 2004 Bayrou’s UDF voters had in part voted for the UMP in the runoff. Yet, despite that, Darcos was unable to win many FN voters. The MoDem, with 15.7%, improves considerably on the 10% it won in the first round, either the result of higher turnout or its ability to rally new voters even in a three-way runoff.

Rousset dominates throughout the region, polling especially strongly (over 60%) in the traditionally left-leaning suburbs of Bordeaux and parts of the Landes, his strength even extending to more right-wing areas in northern Bordeaux and rural Lot-et-Garonne. In fact, Darcos outpolls Rousset only in the wealthy coastal resorts of Arcachon and Biarritz and a rural canton of the Lot-et-Garonne. Lassalle’s strength is obviously concentrated in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, more precisely in his constituency (where he wins around 38%, narrowly behind Rousset) but somewhat ironically he loses his home canton to Rousset while winning a number of cantons in the Catholic Basque Country. In Bayrou’s hometown, Rousset is comfortably ahead!

Auvergne:

René Souchon (PS-EE-FG) 59.68% winning 33 seats (+3)
Alain Marleix (UMP) 40.32% winning 14 seats (-3)

Turnout was 54.88%. In Giscard d’Estaing’s home region, which he had lost himself (narrowly) in 2004, the right is definitely trounced. It isn’t entirely surprising, given that the region has a traditional lean to the left outside of its ‘Giscardian’ tradition, caused more by favourite-son votes than anything. With nearly 60% of the votes, however, Souchon even goes further than the region’s traditional lean to the left. He blows the right out of the water completely, thanks to what one can assume is quasi-universal support from Left Front (14.3%), EE (10.7%), far-left and even FN voters in the first round. Marleix, the UMP’s gerrymanderer and electoral expert, is soundly defeated as is Brice Hortefeux, who was running for the UMP in the Puy-de-Dôme.

However, Marleix can pride himself in the fact that although he lost by a huge margin, he didn’t lose his constituency nor his department (Cantal). His constituency, in the high Catholic herding plateaus of the Cantal, provides his main base. Outside of a few similar areas in Haute-Loire (which, despite being quite Catholic as well and traditionally right-wing, he lost), the right’s only remaining bases are Chamalières (Giscard’s stronghold in the wealthy suburbs of Clermont) and Vichy. In Chassaigne’s home canton of Saint-Amant-Roche-Savine, Souchon has nearly 75% of the vote, and dominates by similarly large margin in most of Allier and the Puy-de-Dôme.

Bourgogne:

François Patriat (PS-PCF-EE) 52.65% winning 37 seats (nc)
François Sauvadet (NC-UMP) 33.53% winning 14 seats (nc)
Édouard Ferrand (FN) 12.04% winning 6 seats (nc)

Turnout was 51.70%. Patriat had dominated by a large margin in the first round, polling unusually strong for a first-round PS candidate in eastern France, and his domination continued in the runoff. Although with 52.7% he does only narrowly better than in 2004 (52.5%), it must be remembered that his win in 2004 was against an awful and very unpopular candidate on the right, Jean-Pierre Soisson. Soisson, who got his rear handed to him in 2004 with only 32.1%, polled only slightly worse than Sauvadet (who wasn’t as bad a candidate as Soisson) who manages only 33.5%. The left’s victory in 2004 was slightly larger than was to be expected, even for those days, so the lack of major movement between 2004 and 2010 is not to be held against the left, it’s in fact a very good result for the left. It must be remembered that in 2004, the transfer of votes between Sauvadet (then UDF candidate, polling 12% in the first round) and Soisson were extremely bad, even counting the fact that Sauvadet himself had indirectly called to vote against Soisson. Patriat’s large victory reflects his historical ability to win support from the right, but also the right’s decline in the region.

The left’s victory, like in many other regions, breaks many historical political cleavages in the department. While Patriat does best in the more industrialized and more left-wing southern departments, in Mitterrand’s Nièvre and Saône-et-Loire, he blows the right out of the water even in the Yonne and Côte-d’Or, which lean to the right. Sauvadet is even defeated in his own constituency, covering the very right-wing rural areas of the northern Côte-d’Or (though that region still provides some of the right’s ‘best’ results, along with parts of the Yonne). The significance of Sauvadet’s defeat in his own constituency, which he won by the first round in 2007, is not to be understated. It is the traditional base of the right, and it’s something the right can’t lose (though Soisson too lost it, by a larger margin, it’s explainable by the fact that he didn’t have the support of the local baron Sauvadet). The right is also defeated in all 3 constituencies of the Yonne, the most right-wing of the region’s 4 departments. The FN’s strong showing in the north of the Yonne, which is now Parisian exurbia with growing Arab immigration, probably explains part of that.

Bretagne:

Jean-Yves Le Drian (PS-PCF) 50.27% winning 52 seats (-6)
Bernadette Malgorn (UMP) 32.36% winning 20 seats (-5)
Guy Hascoët (EE-UDB) 17.37% winning 11 seats (+11)

Turnout was 53.28%. The only region where the PS and EE found no deal ahead of the runoff, Le Drian still managed an impressive re-election over a right which has been in a major decline in the region since the late 90s and a decline which sped up in 2004 and 2007. While Le Drian’s 50.3% is inferior to his impressive 58.8% against the UMP incumbent in 2004, the total left is theoretically worth around 68% of the vote, impressive even here. With 32.4%, the UMP, which had won around 41% in 2004, sees one of its biggest drops in its vote share nationally in Brittany. Despite Troadec’s late endorsement of Hascoët, Le Drian dominated in Troadec’s stronghold around Carhaix (which Troadec had won in the first round by a large margin. Hascoët’s largest gains came from the Saint-Brieuc region, which was Joncour (MoDem)’s base in the first round.  The MoDem and EE share rather similar electorates, though Joncour’s vote reflected a friends-and-neighbours thing much more than it reflected any demographics. While the FN’s votes probably logically flowed to Malgorn (not much working-class support for the FN in Brittany), it wasn’t enough, and Laot’s rural voters did likewise but not in large numbers and certainly not in sums to give the right a fighting chance. The right continues its decline in Brittany, the region which has probably seen the largest shift to the left since 1974.

Le Drian dominates throughout Brittany, coming first in all constituencies. He is over 50% in a majority of constituencies and in the departments of Côtes-d’Armor and Finistère (he narrowly misses out on breaking 50% in Morbihan). The right is reduced to a rump of traditionally right-wing cantons which are isolated from one another and actually don’t share a lot in common. Malgorn dominates the far-eastern fringes of the Ille-et-Vilaine, which is more akin to the old French Catholic-royalist sentiment of Anjou, Maine or Vendée, and outside of that continuous line of support her only wins are from wealthy coastal cantons around the Gulf of Morbihan and the Quiberon Peninsula; and from two cantons in the old clerical bastion of western Brittany in the Léon. Hascoët polls best in Rennes and its growing suburbia, which is well-off but whose voters are of ‘bobo’ persuasion more than ‘old wealthy’ persuasion. His results in Quimper, however, are rather disappointing for him. Le Drian’s best results come from traditionally left-wing areas with little ecologist presence, that is the old Red Belt in Côtes-d’Armor and parts of the Trégor (around Morlaix in the northeast of the Finistère), his homebase (and Socialist-industrial stronghold) of Lorient and industrial Brest.

Centre:

François Bonneau (PS-EE-FG) 50.01% winning 49 seats (+1)
Hervé Novelli (UMP) 36.46% winning 21 seats (+1)
Philippe Loiseau (FN) 13.54% winning 7 seats (-2)

Turnout was 52.25%. After coming ahead in the first round, Novelli was unsurprisingly sent back to second place in the runoff, though he could take pride in the fact that he improved slightly on the right’s 2004 result and didn’t do all that bad for the time. Bonneau, while rallying what one would assume is almost all EE, FG and far-left voters, didn’t do as well, seemingly, with MoDem centrist voters (the MoDem polled 5.08%, its fourth best nationally, here, in a region which is an old base of moderate centrist or Christian democratic traditions). Higher turnout probably helped the FN gain more voters, especially in a year where those who abstained were more right-wing than average and who abstained partly out of distaste for the UMP. While the PDF, which polled an excellent 3.6% in the first round, would theoretically vote for the FN, the nature of internal feuds within the far-right doesn’t make for excellent transfer of votes between dissident (Carl Lang’s bunch) and official far-right (FN), or at least good transfers between dissidents and officials would surprise me.

Only one constituency of the region’s 23 escapes the left’s reach – Eure-et-Loir’s 4th, which covers the very rural and very right-wing Beauce region (amusingly, Quebec’s Beauce and France’s Beauce are both right-wing strongholds). Interestingly, the Beauce had opted for the left in 2004, and given that Novelli isn’t a local, it’s switch in 2004 might surprise. It’s the result of the weakening of the FN but also an underlying anti-incumbent attitude in Eure-et-Loir (known for its by-elections deadly to incumbents). Outside of that, the right is limited to isolated cantons throughout the region, most of them in rural areas similar politically and socially to the Beauce. The left does well in its traditional areas in the southern reaches of the region (Indre and Cher), but also in Indre-et-Loire and especially around Orléans, which, although being a major city, has more right-wing voting patterns in normal elections. The left breaks 50% in the three gerrymandered constituencies covering different fractions of Orléans (except one, which is an atrocity expanding all the way to the reaches of Paris and covering parts of the Beauce). The FN does exceptionally well in eastern Loiret, rural or semi-rural areas of lower middle-class background.

Champagne-Ardenne:

Jean-Paul Bachy (PS-PCF-EE) 44.31% winning 29 seats (+1)
Jean-Luc Warsmann (UMP) 38.49% winning 14 seats (-1)
Bruno Subtil (FN) 17.19% winning 6 seats (nc)

Turnout was 48.95%. Bachy, the PS’ narrowest victor in 2004 with a small margin of only 2.1% over the right in 2004, has increased his margin to a comfortable 5.8% margin in his favour. This despite the UMP’s best attempts at overturning 2004, running a good and rather popular candidate. However, the FN’s return to power in the rural areas of the Marne, Aube and Haute-Marne (which were among Sarkozy’s best areas nationally in 2007) has doomed the right. Yet, on the darker side for Bachy, with 44% of the vote, he falls behind the combined theoretical 46% of the left and far-left in the first round, either the result of poor transfers from the far-left (LO’s voters especially) or the result of higher turnout (up by around 6%). Higher turnout, which, like throughout eastern France, probably helped the FN do better in the runoff than in the first round.

The right, which in 2004 had won Marne, Aube and come close in Haute-Marne is now behind the left in all departments and all but four of the region’s 14 constituencies. Yet, on a cantonal map, most of rural Marne (including the vineyards) and Aube (except for Troyes and its suburbia and the working-class city of Romilly) remains in right-wing hands. The left’s victory in those departments came from the city of Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, Vitry-le-François (in Marne) or Troyes (in the Aube). In the Haute-Marne, the right is narrowly ahead, with less than 40% of the votes, in the Saint-Dizier sector but falls behind the left in the south, around Chaumont; a reversal of the 2004 map in the department. The Ardennes, far more industrial, provides the left with its strongest results (including the sole showing over 50% in Ardennes’ 2nd). Yet, Warsmann places narrowly ahead of Bachy in his constituency (which is also Bachy’s constituency, since it includes his hometown of Sedan).

Corse:

Paul Giacobbi (PRG-PS-FG-CSD) 36.62% winning 24 seats (nc/compared to the sum of the left in 2004)
Camille de Rocca Serra (UMP) 27.65% winning 12 seats (-7)
Gilles Simeoni (Femu a Corsica-PNC) 25.89% winning 11 seats (+3/compared to the united nationalist list in 2004, which included Talamoni)
Jean-Guy Talamoni (Corsica Libera) 9.85% winning 4 seats (+4)

Turnout was 69.01%. The left, divided between 4 major lists in the first round (Giacobbi, Bucchini, Zuccarrelli, Renucci) managed to do what has rarely been done before between deadly rivals and did what they didn’t do (but should have done to win) in 2004: unite. Led by Giacobbi, the left’s united list (worth theoretically 40.2% in the first round) included a deal making Giacobbi the head of the island’s executive council (held by Ange Santini, Rocca Serra’s running-mate but quasi-enemy) and the communist Bucchini as head of the island’s assembly (held by Rocca Serra). Yet, the left’s united list didn’t win all the votes it could have won in the first round, likely due to higher turnout which pushed the UMP’s share up a bit from its ghastly 21.3% in the first round, but also to the underlying old divisions and rivalries between the four clans of the Corsican left. On the nationalist side, with a combined 38.74% of the vote, the nationalists of all stripes (but who, important point, don’t like each other) are in fact the island’s first political force: an historic result for the Corsican nationalist movement. Simeoni’s moderate list is able to poll a bit less than 26% on his own (when the nationalists, united in 2004, had polled only 17.3% in the runoff then!), and polls only slightly less than the UMP.

With 24 seats, however, the left is short of an overall majority, but the left will govern on its own in a minority situation not unusual for the island. The attempts of a right-nationalist deal fell through faster than the speed of light.

The right’s defeat on the island, after 26 years in power and after dominating the politics of the Territorial Collectivity since the new status in 1992, is defeated in an historic way. It is also a major, major defeat for the Rocca Serra family, the dominant clan of the Corsican right (Camille’s father, Jean-Paul, was president of the Assembly between 1984 and 1998) and of southern Corsica. In Porto-Vecchio, which was ruled between 1950 and 2004 by the Rocca Serra family (and before that by the Rocca Serra between 1922 and 1943, 1888, 1872-1877, 1848-1854, 1839-1845, 1821-1826 and 1803-1814… you get the point, it’s the family’s property), Simeoni with 42.8% takes first place ahead of Rocca Serra with 38.3% (in Calvi, the stronghold of Santini, however, the right is comfortably ahead…). The defeat of the Rocca Serra in Porto-Vecchio (which is not noted by the media, too dumb to understand) is earth-shattering. It’s like George W. Bush losing Crawford, Texas.

Franche-Comté:

Marie-Guite Dufay (PS-EE) 47.41% winning 27 seats (+1)
Alain Joyandet (UMP) 38.36% winning 12 seats (nc)
Sophie Montel (FN) 14.23% winning 4 seats (-1)

Turnout was 57.95%. In the end it was Joyandet in Franche-Comté and not Warsmann in Champagne-Ardenne who pulled the right’s best result outside of Alsace (like in the first round). This is probably due to Joyandet’s strong base of popularity around Vesoul and in most of Haute-Saône (outside of the anti-clerical areas there, in the department’s 2nd constituency) and the right’s perpetual domination of certain very, very clerical and Catholic areas in the southern Doubs. With 38.4%, he polls better than the UMP incumbent did in the 2004 runoff (Humbert polled 36.1%) and the left’s gains are rather minimal here between 2004 and 2010 (from 46.8% to 47.4%), while the FN falls from 17.1% to 14.2% despite very strong showings in the industrial Montbéliard-Sochaux basin. The left’s vote is approximately equal to the combined strength of the left and far-left in the first round. Yet, polling better in 2010 with a little-known candidate than in 2004 with the late Forni, a more well-known and well-respected candidate is a good testament to the left’s strength in 2010 (and not only in the region, of course). The FN doesn’t seem to have gained as much from the dissident ‘anti-minaret’ list than it did from higher turnout (which was surprisingly high for eastern France, probably good turnout for Joyandet’s rightie voters in Vesoul) in the runoff.

The right is able to not lose face entirely on the overall map, with strong showings for Joyandet in Haute-Saône (which he narrowly loses, thanks to bad results in the Lure-Hericourt region, more republican and anti-clerical) and around Vesoul (his results there are not excellent in a larger context, but in a 2010 context, they are), but also strong showings which are usual for the right even in a poor context in the very, very clerical areas of the Haut-Doubs and parts of the mountainous and more clerical eastern Jura (around Saint-Claude). Yet, beyond the map, a more detailed analysis hides very poor results for the right in the industrial Montbéliard-Sochaux basin (where the FN polled best) and surrounding industrial areas in Belfort and Lure-Hericourt, as well as in Besançon.

Île-de-France:

Jean-Paul Huchon (PS-EE-FG) 56.69% winning 142 seats (+12)
Valérie Pécresse (UMP) 43.31% winning 67 seats (+3)

Turnout was 47.14%. The right manages to safe face in the capital region, with the only positive note for Pécresse being that she broke 40%, the result of higher turnout from the right’s base in the runoff than in the first round. Yet, Huchon is able to rally voters beyond the lines of the left and far-left in the first round, indicating good transfers from the MoDem, but also the FN and Dupont-Aignan (as evidenced by the left’s strong performance in NDA’s stronghold of Yerres). Pécresse is able to poll better than the UMP did in 2004 (40.7%), facing a three-way runoff against the PS and the FN, then led by Marine Le Pen, but she’s barely able to capitalize on the FN’s elimination from the Regional Council between 2004 and 2006. The FN’s strong performance in the first round in Seine-et-Marne and Val-d’Oise did not benefit the right at all in the runoff, especially in Seine-et-Marne where the PS’ weakest performance (by canton) is 46.5%. Huchon, first elected in 1998, has continually increased his majority since then, though this time he does face a strong EE-Green caucus.

The right is limited to its strongholds in the wealthiest areas of Paris and its western suburbia. In Paris itself, the right is limited to its base in the city’s wealthy west end, and in Paris’ western suburbs, the right is defeated in Nicolas Sarkozy’s Hauts-de-Seine where its only victories come from the wealthiest communities. Only the Yvelines, whose blue colour on the map of France creates an awkard splotch, gives the right a majority – a narrow one. Even there, traditional right-wing areas such as Rambouillet (whose constituency, the 10th, saw an extremely narrow by-election victory for the UMP in 2009 against a Greenie) or Poissy calls in the left’s hands. In the poorer ‘popular’ neighborhoods east of Paris and in Paris itself, the left’s domination is absolute. Most of eastern Paris is coloured in a 70% red shade, as is most of inner Seine-Saint-Denis and parts of the Val-de-Marne. In almost all low-income cities, the left is dominant with over 60% of the vote and sometimes even reaching 70% (and nearly 79% in Montreuil).

Languedoc-Roussillon:

Georges Frêche (DVG) 54.19% winning 44 seats (+1)
Raymond Couderc (UMP) 26.43% winning 13 seats (-3)
France Jamet (FN) 19.38% winning 10 seats (+2)

Turnout was 52.60%. In such a runoff, Frêche’s position was never put in jeopardy, especially when faced with a well-meaning but mediocre candidate such as Couderc on his right (or on his opposition, given Frêche’s nature) and the PS’ de-facto endorsement of him between the two rounds (as well as the fact that EE and FG voters were obviously much more likely to vote for Frêche than Couderc, despite the divisions). The surprises, however, came from Frêche’s relatively “little” 54% and the major boost in the FN’s support in one week (nearly +7%) from 12.7% to 19.4%. The FN’s result in the first round could be counted as disappointing, but its runoff result is an excellent success. The key to this boost is likely an increase in turnout, but also good transfers from Christian Jeanjean’s first round right-wing dissident list and surprisingly good transfers from two far-right dissident lists in the first round (which polled dismally). However, beyond that, good transfers from the FG-NPA in a region where a number of FN voters are old PCF voters, is also a potential explanation, and one which is strengthened by the fact that Frêche’s 54.2% falls short of the 59.8% won by the combined left, Frêche and anti-Frêche, in the first round. Frêche is re-elected, but some troubles within a left whose division shouldn’t be forgotten, still exist. This isn’t to downplay Frêche’s result, which is superior to the 51.2% he won in 2004, a higher result due only to the decline of the right and not of the far-right, which does better than its 15.7% in the 2004 runoff. His result, on the other hand, while slightly disappointing in the context of the left’s vote, is very strong in the context of the right’s vote. It’s true that Couderc was a low-key and low-quality candidate, who lacked the media attention and/or ability to exploit the left’s divisions, but this election has established Frêche as a local baron, reminiscent of the old Radical and Socialist barons of the French south-west in the past. His nature as a clientelist baron does break traditional political cleavages.

Not one of the regions’ 21 constituencies and only 7 of the region’s 186 cantons did not vote for Frêche, proving the nature of his electorate which, while resting on left-wing bases, expands to right-wing areas. Frêche wins excellent results in wealthy coastal right-wing areas, growing suburban areas which voted heavily for Sarkozy in 2007 and so forth. He wins both constituencies of the Lozère, proving well that he breaks political divisions especially in a polarized department like the Lozère. Of the 7 cantons won by Couderc, 6 are located in the northern fringe of Lozère, areas with politics similar to the herding plateau of Saint-Flour in the Cantal. The other is a wealthy retirees coastal community east of Perpignan. Frêche dominates in Montpellier, his old city, with nearly 66%, and achieves excellent results in the Cévenole cantons of Lozère, rural Aude and western Gard around the old mining basin of Alès and in the Cévennes.

Limousin:

Jean-Paul Denanot (PS-EE) 47.95% winning 27 seats (-4)
Raymond Archer (UMP) 32.95% winning 10 seats (-2)
Christian Audouin (FG-NPA) 19.10% winning 6 seats (+6)

Turnout was 57.24%. In France’s most left-wing region, the PS took the liberty of doing without the support of the FG-NPA list (mostly due to disagreements with the pesky little NPA), which was strong from its 13.1% result in the first round. While the PS’ result, under 50%, could be interpreted at first as a poor result, the right, with 32.95% falls below the 37.98% result it had won in 2004, in a duel against Denanot. A poor result for the UMP which confirms the gradual disappearance of the Chiraquien vote in this region, or at least a return of part of the Chiraquien vote, a large part of which was a favourite-son vote, to the left which has been dominant in the region since the beginning of the last century at least. However, in the Limousin rouge, the real reds – the Left Front – re-edit their excellent first round showing by an even better one in the runoff. With 19%, the FG-NPA polls better than the combined FG-NPA in the 2009 European election and shows the FG’s ability to rally a vaster electorate in the runoff. A new electorate which likely came from first-round non-voters, but potentially from ex-communist voters from the reformist ADS-CAP, very active in this region and which for a long time doomed the PCF in one of it’s strongest regions during the 1960s and 1970s.

Ironically, Archer, while realizing one of the right’s worse results, is able to exploit the division of the left’s vote to make the map slightly bluer. He even comes first in the Creuse’ 2nd constituency, which covers the eastern Creuse, far more right-wing in contrast to the rest of the (very red) region. He comes first in a few cantons in eastern Corrèze and in the northwestern fringe of the Haute-Vienne, but all these results hide a darker reality for the right. It is in fact over 50% in only one canton (in the Creuse), a poor result which reflects the unpopularity of public service cuts in an isolated and ageing region. The FG owes its good performances throughout the region partly to these public service cuts. One canton, Bugeat, places the FG ahead of the PS and UMP. A stronghold of the resistance in World War II, Bugeat is more importantly Audoin’s stronghold, which he represented until his defeat in the 2004 cantonal elections. A strong result which could encourage him to attempt a return in next year’s cantonal ballot.

Lorraine:

Jean-Pierre Masseret (PS-PCF-EE) 50.02% winning 46 seats (+1)
Laurent Hénart (UMP) 31.54% winning 17 seats (-2)
Thierry Gourlot (FN) 18.44% winning 10 seats (+1)

Turnout was 47.06%. The right’s abominable showing in Lorraine in this election is always very shocking. In fact, with 31.5%, Hénart (although a good candidate) does worse than the UMP’s candidates in Limousin (!) and Bretagne, far more left-wing regions. Lorraine was never an Alsace, but such a defeat for the right here is shocking. The left, is a winner in this situation, and Masseret’s 50% showing in a three-way runoff is impressive and superior to 48.4% result in 2004. Yet, Masseret’s result is almost identical to the first-round total of the left and the far-left, meaning that the real winner is of course the FN, whose return in Lorraine and Moselle in particular has been one of the election’s highlights. With 18.4%, the FN improves on its 14.9% first round showing but also on its 17.4% runoff result in 2004. It is the FN’s return and not the left’s continued success which seems to be the real cause of the destruction of the UMP in Lorraine, and especially in Moselle. A return of the FN caused by the same factors as those which caused the FN to return nationally, but sped up locally by a real disapproval of Sarkozy’s “politics for the wealthy” style in the working-class (but Catholic and historically fertile ground for Gaullism, not for socialism) mining areas around Forbach. Those voters voted Sarkozy in 2007, but Sarkozy’s policy and the “Gandrange effect” (though Gandrange is not a coal mining centre and is not in the Forbach area, it’s clear it’s impacted the mind of the average voter in Moselle) have sparked the return of the FN. The next step will be to see if these changes in Moselle’s geopolitics will carry over to 2011 (cantonal) and most importantly to 2012.

The left is unsurprisingly dominant in all constituencies, and breaks 50% in Meurthe-et-Moselle, and 60% in the old left-wing mining/industrial areas of Longwy and Moyeuvre-Grande (these are old de-Christianized industrial heartlands, and thus the old base of the PS-PCF in the region. The industrial downturn here was in the 90s for the most part, and the protest vote wasn’t as big here as in the Forbach basin). The right, ahead in only a few cantons (mostly rural cantons with little industry), mostly in the Meuse, is exceptionally weak, as said before, in the Forbach basin, where the FN does extremely well. The FN vote, analysed for the first round in a post available here, has also expanded to rural ‘forgotten’ areas in parts of the Meuse and Moselle.

Midi-Pyrénées:

Martin Malvy (PS-EE-FG) 67.77% winning 69 seats (+7)
Brigitte Barèges (UMP) 32.23% winning 22 seats (+1)

Turnout was 54.39%. Martin Malvy takes the top prize for PS incumbents, that of the best result for a sitting President in the runoffs. Well-liked, well-established in a very left-wing region and faced with a poor and divisive UMP candidate, Malvy wins by a crushing 35.5% margin. An excellent result which goes beyond the simple lines of the first round left and far-left, meaning that Malvy benefited from good transfers from the FN and the MoDem. Barèges’ only gains probably came from poor transfers from the centre and far-right. She does do better than the right did in 2004 (30.4%), but the FN had polled 12.1% in a runoff for which it qualified for in 2004. In a surprising move, Barèges, who represents the Tarn-et-Garonne’s 1st constituency, resigned her seat opening the road to a quasi-certain PS gain in a by-election.

Malvy’s domination is obviously universal, falling under 50% in only two constituencies: that of Castres (Tarn’s 3rd) and that of Rodez (Aveyron’s 1st). Yet, even in those conservative and clerical outposts in an anti-clerical territory, Malvy is far ahead of the right, which in the end dominates only 13 cantons, all except one of which are located in the Catholic herding plateaus of Aubrac or those general whereabouts. Malvy is over 70% in the Lot, Ariège and Hautes-Pyrénées (where he wins 57% in the religious stronghold of Lourdes), and polls over 70% in most of Haute-Garonne outside of Toulouse (where he has ‘only’ 67%). His best results are found in working-class areas such as Carmaux and Descazeville.

Nord-Pas-de-Calais:

Daniel Percheron (PS-FG-EE) 51.89% winning 73 seats (nc)
Valérie Létard (NC-UMP) 25.91% winning 22 seats (-2)
Marine Le Pen (FN) 22.20% winning 18 seats (+2)

Turnout was 49.16%. The left’s gains vis-a-vis 2004 are small here, where Percheron gains only 0.05% in six years. More movement, however, is between the right and the far-right in the benefit of the latter. With 22%, Le Pen places above the FN’s 19.7% in the 2004 runoff, likely caused by a higher turnout. A result which also confirms Le Pen’s strong implantation in this region and especially around Hénin-Beaumont (44.2%, slightly behind the left). The right, on the other hand, falls short of the UMP’s 28.4% result in the 2004 runoff, showing the poor transfers from both the MoDem and smaller right-wing lists such as the CNI list, allegedly a creation of the UMP. The left falls below the theoretical 57.8% of the left in the first round, showing that some far-left and FG voters whose vote in the first round was also a protest vote, might have re-edited their protest vote with a vote for the FN.

Ironically, the right still manages to win one constituency: that of Marcq-en-Baroeul, an extremely wealthy suburb of Lille. Outside of that, its wins are limited to some rural communes in the Pas-de-Calais and Nord, as well as the isolated and rare wealthy seaside resort communities in the Pas-de-Calais (such as Le Touquet). In the Pas-de-Calais, the left is universally dominant, and even breaks 60% in one constituency of the old coalbelt (Liévin), that despite the FN’s strong presence in the same area. A good reflection of the right’s utter destruction there. On a general view, the left breaks 50% in those industrial or old mining constituencies or urban working-class areas (such as Lille proper, Roubaix and so forth). The FN, which beats the right to third in the Pas-de-Calais, has also made some gains in the eastern stretch of the coalbelt (the part which is in the Nord department and where Bocquet had dominated in the first round).

Basse-Normandie:

Laurent Beauvais (PS-PCF-EE) 57.15% winning 32 seats (+4)
Jean-François Le Grand (UMP) 42.85% winning 15 seats (+1)

Turnout was 51.42%. Beauvais’ first place showing in this normally conservative part of Normandy had been noted in the first round, and his absolute domination with a 57-43 margin in the runoff. These numbers show well the total annihilation of the UMP in the moderate centre-right regions of the inner west, already noted in the first round. It also shows the good transfer of votes from the MoDem and the FN as well, given that the left and far-left in the first round was worth only 51.01%. While some MoDem and FN voters (probably a majority, still, for the latter) voted for the UMP, the left won a good share of them, especially since the MoDem’s vote were concentrated in sociologically left-wing areas such as Herouville-Saint-Clair, a poor suburb of Caen but where Rodolphe Thomas (mayor since 2001) is popular. However, in the case of Basse-Normandie, Beauvais’ good result also reflects a general pro-incumbent attitude and a regional ability to amplify national wave effects (see for example the maps of the 1997 and 2002 legislative elections in the Calvados). Overall, while the UMP improves on the 40% it won in the 2004 runoff (but a three-way runoff with the FN), as in other regions, it is the left which benefits from the elimination of the FN (around 14% in 2004) from the regional legislature.

Only one of the region’s 14 constituencies but a good number of cantons opted for the right. The right won, not too surprisingly, Manche’s 2nd constituency, covering territory similar to the eastern fringes of Ille-et-Vilaine or northwestern Mayenne. In cantonal terms, the right holds its head up in most of rural Manche, the Perche region of eastern Orne, and parts of the Calvados most notably the ultra-wealthy seaside resorts of Trouville and Deauville. Yet, in a number of constituencies, Beauvais breaks 60%: Cherbourg, Caen-West, Argentan (where the former mayor wins a record 76.7%, showing well the region’s pro-incumbent attitude), and Vire (which includes, most importantly, the suburbs of Caen). In Caen-East, the most working-class of Caen’s two constituencies, he even breaks 70%.

Haute-Normandie:

Alain Le Vern (PS-EE-FG) 55.10% winning 37 seats (+1)
Bruno Le Maire (UMP) 30.70% winning 12 seats (-1)
Nicolas Bay (FN) 14.20% winning 6 seats (nc)

Turnout was 51%. Le Vern wins a stronger mandate than in 2004, gaining around 2.4%, which is almost equal to the fall of the right (-2%), given that the far-right does only marginally poorer than in 2004 (14.6%). In 2004, Le Vern had faced Antoine Rufenacht, who had stronger implantation in Le Havre (where he’s mayor) and higher name-recognition than the UMP’s 2010 candidate, the young but poorly implanted Bruno Le Maire, who also represents the agricultural policy of a government appreciated less and less by rural France. Le Vern’s result is only slightly below the combined total of the left and far-left in the first round (around 56%), which indicates that he got excellent vote transfers from both EE and Jumel (FG). Le Maire, however, gains only 5% between both rounds, meaning that he grew very little out of potential vote reserves like the weak MoDem and DLR.

Only a few rural cantons in the Eure (including the stronghold of NC leader Hervé Morin), the wealthy Rouen suburb of Bois-Guillaume, the canton including the uber-wealthy Havrais suburb of Sainte-Adresse, and one canton in the Bray escape the left’s dominance. In the industrial areas in the Seine Valley around Rouen, the left is over 60% quasi-universally and even over 70% in places such as Le Petit and Grand Quevilly (Laurent Fabius’ stronghold) or Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray. It falls just short of 60% in Jumel’s city of Dieppe and also dominates Le Havre with an excellent result of around 58%. Another indicator of good transfers from the FG is in the very industrial (and real PCF stronghold) of Gonfreville-L’Orcher where the left has nearly 72%. In Rouen proper finally, the left has nearly 59% of the vote. The FN’s vote is concentrated very much in the Eure, especially in the fringes of the Eure (the Vexin normand) and also does well in the Bray region of the Seine-Maritime. In these regions, a vote of isolated “forgotten” border areas of regions which is commonplace for the FN seems to play a large role in explaining the party’s vote.

Pays de la Loire:

Jacques Auxiette (PS-PCF-EE) 56.39% winning 63 seats (+3)
Christophe Béchu (UMP) 43.61% winning 30 seats (-3)

Turnout was 51.78%. The region’s narrow gain by the left in 2004 (52-48) was symbolic in a region which harboured some of the most stereotypical centres of reaction to the French Republic (including, of course, Vendée), and the left’s easy re-election with 56% of the vote is also symbolic, but tells a lot about the destruction of the UMP in the inner west and the evolution of these old conservative fortresses (Basse-Normandie, PDL, Bretagne and parts of Poitou-Charentes). On a more local level, it is a bad result for the rising star of the local UMP, bébé Sarko Béchu. He is defeated in Angers and his own commune. Auxiette, beyond the left+far-left’s 54.6% in the first round, likely expands to take in the vast majority of the MoDem’s fringe vote and a sizable share of the FN vote (I see it as unlikely that he took, or Béchu, took much of the regionalist vote).

The left’s victory is so large that even Vendée is coloured red on the maps, and only five constituencies of the region’s 30-odd constituencies are blue. These constituencies include Philippe de Villiers’ base in northeastern Vendée (but in P2v’s stronghold of Montaigu: the left is at 47%!), which is the most conservative area of the department, the coastal wealthy constituency of Sables-d’Olonne, the two rural constituencies of Mayenne and the constituency which includes Saumur in the Maine-et-Loire. A cantonal map is more revealing, showing the left’s domination as quasi-absolute in the two most industrialized and urbanized departments: Sarthe and Loire-Atlantique, where only a mere handful of cantons escape the left’s grasp (including Fillon’s canton of Sablé and the epitome of wealthy seaside resorts – La Baule). In Maine-et-Loire and Mayenne, the left dominates in urban and suburban areas (including Angers, Laval, Cholet, Saumur, Segré) by large margins, and Auxiette wins almost 70% in his hometown of La Roche-sur-Yon. The left’s strongest margins come from the industrial areas in the Loire estuary around Nantes, the left hovering above 70% in Rezé, Saint-Herblain and Saint-Nazaire. In Vendée, the cantons of the plaine and marais (such as Fontenay-le-Comte) are also won by the left. These cantons are historically the most republican and anti-clerical areas of Vendée, as opposed to the staunchly clerical and old royalist bocage.

Picardie:

Claude Gewerc (PS-EE) 48.28% winning 35 seats (+1)
Caroline Cayeux (UMP) 32.43% winning 14 seats (-1)
Michel Guiniot (FN) 19.30% winning 8 seats (nc)

Turnout was 51.16%. The left is victorious by a large margin as expected, but the real victor of the runoff is the FN, which boosts its result from 15.81% to 19.3% in the runoff. This is the result of a boost in turnout of around 5%, but also poor transfers from Maxime Gremetz’ dissident Communist list in the first round (6.2%) to Gewerc. I suspect a lot of Gremetz’ voters, who were as much protest voters as FN voters, voted for the FN in the runoff. In fact, Gewerc’s result is below the combined left and far-left, but the left’s result is superior to its 2004 runoff showing (though against a rather popular UDF incumbent) which was 45.5%. All this while the FN even improves on its own 2004 result narrowly (18.7%), meaning that the UMP is the real loser in all this, falling below Robien’s 35.9% in 2004.

The left is dominant in all but one of the region’s constituency, the Chantilly-Senlis constituency of the Oise, which covers very wealthy Parisian exurbs. Outside of that, it is limited to Compiègne, a few rural cantons in the Oise and Aisne and finally the canton of Rue in the Somme estuary, probably the sign that some CPNT voters followed their party’s alliance with the UMP, though I suspect a lot voted FN (and judging by FN results in the Somme estuary, CPNT’s natural base, it seems very much correct). The FN obtains its best results in Paris middle-class exurbian, rural isolated cantons, old industrial and now the Somme estuary.

Poitou-Charentes:

Ségolène Royal (PS-EE) 60.61% winning 39 seats (+2)
Dominique Bussereau (UMP) 39.39% winning 16 seats (+1)

Turnout was 53.49%. The PS’ 2007 candidate and eternal maverick figure does not win the left’s best result (beaten out by Malvy, a Fabiusian close to Aubry for the record) but on a local scale, he 60% showing is an excellent result for the left in a region which is historically right-wing. It’s a good reflection of her popularity in the region. She does slightly better than the total of the left and far-left, likely the result of good transfers from the MoDem’s candidate, who was an ex-socialist, but also the result of her very strong implantation in the region and her emergence as a rather efficient local baron. And despite past shaky relations with Greenies, the Greenies found little reason not to vote for her. Bussereau, while doing better than the right in 2004 (36.2%, but in a three-way with the FN), is crushed, not benefiting from the FN’s elimination.

All constituencies give Royal a majority, and ten of those give her over 60% of the votes (she is over 60 in all departments except Charente-Maritime). Only four cantons in the north of the Deux-Sèvres, similar to the bocage of Vendée; the two cantons of the Ile-de-Ré, and a stretch of traditionally conservative cantons along the Gironde estuary give her only a minority. In Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, Bussereau’s stronghold, he barely wins 55% or so, though the city of Royan does also place him on top. Royal dominates in the Charentes, probably the only traditionally strongly left-wing department of the region, and also in her strongholds in the southern Deux-Sèvres (she wins over 70% of the vote in her base of Melle), Poitiers as well as La Rochelle and the northern areas of the Charente-Maritime, located in the marais or plaine and including traditionally left-wing centres such as Saintes.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur:

Michel Vauzelle (PS-EE-FG) 44.11% winning 72 seats (-1)
Thierry Mariani (UMP) 33.02% winning 30 seats (-1)
Jean-Marie Le Pen (FN) 22.87% winning 21 seats (+2)

Turnout was 52.21%. The left holds on, as expected, to PACA, but the real victor is Le Pen, who builds on both his first round result (20.3%) and on the FN’s 2004 runoff result (21%) though compared to some other gains between both rounds by the FN, the gains here are not spectacularly large. Vauzelle is one of the few PS incumbents who sees his result fall below his 2004 result (45.2%), a sign that the ageing Vauzelle might be starting to suffer from his age and longevity. Yet, at the same time, the UMP is narrowly below its own 2004 result (33.8%) but in terms of margin, the margin between PS and UMP is smaller in 2010 and 2004. While Mariani doesn’t gain much between both rounds, it is likely he (and not Le Pen) picked up most of Bompard’s voters (he does win Orange) and a few other scattered votes here and there. He couldn’t benefit from Vauzelle’s small decline, not in this context.

The right does save its honour in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var (the Var had been won by Vauzelle in 2004, probably the result of the popular Hubert Falco being the UMP’s list-leader in the Var), but apart from that it’s universally defeated. Even in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes, the wealthy Riviera areas are the right’s only victories because it places behind in Nice but also in most of the Provencal hinterlands. It’s amusing to see a “mini-return” of the Var rouge in the Varois and Nicois backcountry. The UMP, defeated in Alpes-Maritimes’ 5th and Nice, marks a defeat for the UMP baron, Christian Estrosi, who has full control of both. Outside of that and some mountainous cantons (probably covering ski stations full of wealthy people), the right wins Orange (proof of Bompard’s vote going to the UMP and not FN) as well as the wealthy neighborhoods (and suburbs) of Marseille. The left, on the other hand, breaks 50% in the Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (a result which also reflects the weakness, comparatively, of the FN in those departments) and polls very well (sometimes over 60%) in the industrial faubourgs of Marseille and its surroundings. The FN does well quasi-universally, except Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and it wins 36% of the vote in Cavaillon (Vaucluse), one of its top results nationally.

Rhône-Alpes:

Jean-Jack Queyranne (PS-EE-FG) 50.76% winning 100 seats (+6)
Françoise Grossetête (UMP) 34.02% winning 40 seats (-5)
Bruno Gollnisch (FN) 15.23% winning 17 seats (-1)

Turnout was 49.52%. With a large victory, Queyranne gains more than 4% on his 2004 result (46.52%), establishing himself as another local PS baron. Though his result is only slightly superior to the left’s first round total of 49.5%, it is likely he took in a vast majority of Azouz Begag’s MoDem voters as well as some far-left voters. The right, while still largely defeated and short of its 38.2% in 2004, did benefit a bit from the boost in turnout between the two rounds to save its honour just a bit. The FN also does well thanks to higher turnout, but it does not gain much between both rounds, when compared to other regions.  Along with other PS incumbents, often elected in 2004 for the first time, Queyranne has built himself a strong regional power-base and he emerges as one of the major PS local barons.

The right is limited to only a few wealthy areas or ski resorts (resorts such as Chamonix, Mont-Blanc or wealthy Lyon suburbs such as Caluire) and some rather Catholic rural areas in the Rhône, Ain or Ardèche. However, the right is not even able to save its honour by winning Haute-Savoie, a natural base of the right. The left, on the other hand, is almost quasi-universally dominant with high points in Grenoble, the Drôme and Ardèche backcountry or the poorer Lyon suburbs including Villeurbanne and Vénissieux. The FN’s patterns aren’t too surprising, with its best results, often over 20%, in lower middle-class suburbs of Lyon (which expand into northern Isère) but also in old working-class areas. A vast majority of the FN’s regional strongpoints used to be left-leaning areas, but they all voted heavily for the UMP in 2007. On a final note, the left is ahead of the UMP in the commune of Donzère, Eric Besson’s town. The FN also wins 24% of the vote there…

Guyane:

Rodolphe Alexandre (UMP) 56.11% winning 21 seats (+14)
Christiane Taubira (Walwari-PSG-DVG-EE) 43.89% winning 10 seats

Turnout was 50.72%. Held since 1992 by the retiring Socialist (PSG) incumbent Antoine Karam, Guyane is the right’s only gain along with La Réunion. Despite the union of the various left-wing lists behind Taubira (her list included the PSG list, one led by fellow deputy Chantal Berthelot and a Green list), the left is not able to rally all its theoretical voters behind its banner (45.33% total for all parties of the left in the first round). Alexandre, despite not having excellent relations with the “real right” (Alexandre, mayor of Cayenne, is more a DVG than a right-winger), is able to, apparently, gain the support of those who supported Roger Arel (Léon Bertrand’s first round candidate, who took 4.2%) as well as those who supported the most successful first round right-wing dissident, Prévôt-Madère (7.4%), who did not endorse any list. The result can be explained partly by Alexandre’s popularity as a pragmatic moderate mayor, but also by a local desire for more government funding, something which can be facilitated if your region is on the government’s side (such rhetoric would never work in metro France, of course).

It’s hard to analyse the sociological background to the votes, but Alexandre is narrowly ahead of Taubira in Cayenne with 51.7%. His best results seem to come from the Amazonian rainforest (sparsely populated by natives), which is traditionally the right’s strongest area in Guyane. With nearly 65%, he’s also dominant in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni (Bertrand’s stronghold). Taubira wins Sinnamary, Saint-Élie, Saül, Ouanary and Saint-Georges-de-l’Oyapock. The latter two, of which Saint-Georges is the most famous, are on the Brazilian border and the high number of immigrants might explain the left’s victory (apparently there are also a lot of Brazilians in Saint-Élie, though a lot are illegals).

Martinique:

Serge Letchimy (PPM) 48.32% winning 26 seats (+17)
Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM) 41.05% winning 12 seats (-16)
André Lesieur (UMP) 10.63% winning 3 seats (-1)

Turnout was 52.97%. Alfred Marie-Jeanne, deputy and leader of the separatist MIM, in power on the island since 1998 is defeated, a defeat which follows his party’s defeat in the status referendum earlier this year, where his push for more autonomy was soundly rejected (like in Guyane). The popular deputy and mayor of Fort-de-France, Serge Letchimy, leader of Aimé Césaire’s PPM, who had voted against further autonomy in January, is the island’s new leader. The movement for independence on the island was never very strong, and Marie-Jeanne won only because of the poor nature of his opponents, but faced with the popular mayor of the island’s capital, his defeat was predictable. The UMP, on its side, wins around what it won in the first round and wins its worst result in all of France.

Marie-Jeanne, who represents the south of the island around his Rivière-Pilote base, remains first only in his constituency and wins nearly 90% of the vote in Rivière-Pilote. Except for two communes in the northwest end of the island, he has no other base. Letchimy is strong in Fort-de-France with 63% of the votes, and generally in the north-central part of the island. Lesieur, mayor of Rivière-Salée, takes only 29% in his commune but does win the small town of Macouba.

La Réunion:

Didier Robert (UMP-DVD) 45.46% winning 27 seats (+16)
Paul Vergès (PCR-Alliance-DVD) 35.55% winning 12 seats (-15)
Michel Vergoz (PS) 18.99% winning 6 seats (-1)

Turnout was 59.70%, up 14% from the first round. The right’s victory in La Réunion, which constitutes the UMP’s second gain, is the result of two factors: the division of the left (but it was also divided in 2004 between PCR and PS) but most importantly the result of popular tiring of the old Vergès, 85 years old and in power since 1998. With 45.5%, the UMP is below the theoretical 50% or so base of the right in the first round, but given that André Thien-Ah-Koon (5.4%) merged his list with Vergès’ list (a move unpopular within the PCR), and that only Nadia Ramassamy (5.9%) officially endorsed Robert, it’s a strong victory. The 6.7% or so who voted for UMP Senator Jean-Paul Virapoullé (a rival of Robert) in the first round likely voted for Robert if only to defeat Paul Vergès, a staunch enemy of Virapoullé, who’s a wealthy landowner. The PS list, with 19%, polls less than in 2004 (22% in the runoff), and its additional voters likely come from the Greenies, who won 4.9% in the first round.

Vergès is first only in the island’s 2nd constituency, which covers the PCR industrial stronghold of Le Port (and is the PCR’s electoral base). Robert is ahead in Saint-Denis, the island’s capital, with 47.3% and he wins 58.5% in his hometown of Le Tampon. The PS does best in the east of the island, where it seems to be best implanted.

South Australia and Tasmania 2010

South Australia and Tasmania voted today, March 20, to renew their legislatures. In South Australia, all 47 members of the lower house, the House of Assembly, are up f0r re-election in addition to half of the upper house’s (Legislative Council) 22 members. The lower house was last elected in 2006, and the 11 MLCs up for re-election in 2010 were elected or re-elected in the 2002 election. In Tasmania, all 25 members of the lower house (but no members of the upper house) are up for re-election in five 5-seat constituencies.

South Australia has been governed by Premier Mike Rann (Labor) since 2002, when Labor won power on the back of a maverick independent member, because the Liberals had won more votes that Labor itself. However, Rann’s Labor won a landslide re-election victory in 2006, with 56.8% of the 2PP vote and 28 of 47 seats. The opposition Liberals have had troubles within their leadership since the 2006 election, after former Premier Rob Kerin resigned in 2006. Iain Evans (2006-2007) and Martin Hamilton-Smith (2007-2009) followed him, until Isobel Redmond finally took over in 2009 following a leadership crisis and leadership contest within the party. However, Labor has taken a nosedive in polling since 2008, with a fair share of scandals and unpopular decisions hurting the party in polls. In the last poll prior to the election, the Liberals led 52-48 on the 2PP vote. However, as in Queensland’s last election, Labor performed better at the polls than in the polls, largely at the expense of the Greens. Here are quasi-final though still provisional results:

Liberal 41.4% (+7.3%) winning 18 seats (+4)
Labor 37.9% (-7.4%) winning 25 seats (-3)
Greens 8.0% (+1.6%) winning 0 seats (nc)
Family First 5.2% (-0.6%) winning 0 seats (nc)
Nationals SA 1.1% (-1.0%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Independents and Others 6.4% (+0.1%) winning 4 seats (nc)

The 2PP vote for Labor is at around 48.5%, though Labor has still won a majority on those numbers. An effective failure of South Australia’s ‘fair redistricting’ method, created to prevent this very type of result from happening.

The Liberals needed to pick up at least 10 seats to win the magic 24 seats needed to win, and they managed to pick up only four. In the rural seat of Chiffley, rural conservative voters turned against National MP Karlene Maywald, who, despite the Nationals’ close co-operation with the Liberals federally, actually is a member of the Labor government. The Liberals have won with 54% of the 2PP vote there. They won three seats in the Adelaide region from Labor; Morialta, Norwood (in the eastern suburbs, traditionally wealthy and Liberal) and the downtown seat of Adelaide. It failed to gain a number of seats it must win in order to win, including the coastal seat of Bright in Adelaide. Three Independents were re-elected: ex-ALP Kris Hanna, Geoff Brock and ex-Liberal Bob Such. In Mount Gambier, Don Pegler was able to retain the seat in Independent hands following the retirement of cabinet minister Rory McEwen.

In the Legislative Council, Liberals hold 39.1% on the initial count, against 37.8% for Labor, 6.6% for the Greens, 4.4% for Family First and 1.1% for the Dignity for Disability. 4 Liberals, 4 Labor, 1 Green, 1 Family First and 1 Dignity for Disability members will be elected, giving the new Legislative Council 8 Labor members (nc), 7 Liberals (-1), 2 Greens (+1), 2 Family First (nc), 2 No Pokies-Independents (nc, this is Nick Xenophon’s, now Senator federally, anti-gambling outfit), and 1 Dignity for Disability (+1). Former Democrat MLC, now an Independent, David Winderlich won 0.7% of the vote and loses his seat in the Legislative Council.


Tasmania, the island off the coast of Australia, has become a Labor-leaning state in recent years, but Tasmanian politics are far more local and parochial than politics in mainland Australia. The island, generally poorer than the mainland, includes inland areas where mining and logging are dominant and the more small-l liberal capital, Hobart and its suburbs. Unlike South Australia and most other Australian states, Tasmania does not have single-member electorates whose members are elected by IRV, but instead it has 5 5-seat divisions whose members are elected by STV. Like South Australia, it does have a Legislative Council, but members are not elected at the same time as the House of Assembly and they are elected in single-seat divisions. Labor has governed the state since 1998 (coming back dramatically from the verge of extinction in the early 90s), and won a huge victory in 2002 and a large (though smaller) victory in 2006. In 2006, Labor won 14 seats (and 49.3%) against 7 for the Liberals and 4 Greenies. The strength of the Greens in a state with important environmental issues (timber, mining, pulp mills) and natural areas relatively untouched by modern development, is another significant aspect of Tasmanian politics. The Greens won a record 17.1% in 1989, on the back of internal Labor divisions over the construction of a large dam in Tasmania. Their strength subsided a bit until 2002, when the party won 18.1%, though the Green vote slid to 16.6% in 2006.

Premier David Bartlett, in power since only 2008, has had to deal with a number of scandals in his government and the unpopularity of some of his policies. This election, he faces a stronger and more popular Liberal leader, Will Hodgman. Faced also by a Green resurgence, Labor stood in third with 21% in the last poll against 22% for the Greens and 29% for the Liberals. However, undecideds broke heavily in favour of the two largest parties. Here are quasi-final though still provisional results:

Liberal 39.1% (+7.2%) winning 10 seats (+3)
Labor 37.1% (-12.1%) winning 10 seats (-4)
Greens 21.3% (+4.6%) winning 5 seats (+1)
Others 2.5% (+0.3%) winning 0 seats (nc)

Here are results by electorate, counting by party :

Bass (NE Tasmania): Liberal 42.8%, Labor 34.7%, Green 20.5%, Ind 1.9%
Braddon (NW and West Tasmania): Liberal 44.8%, Labor 40.9%, Green 13.5%, Ind 0.8%
Denison (Hobart): Labor 36.8%, Liberal 29.8%, Green 24.2%, Andrew Wilkie 8.4%, Socialist 0.7%
Franklin (South Tasmania and Hobart suburbs): Liberal 41.4%, Labor 30.6%, Green 26.9%, Ind 0.5%, Socialist 0.4%
Lyons (Central Tasmania): Labor 43.3%, Liberal 36.3%, Green 20.6%

With only 39% going to the top party and one in five voters or so voting for the Greens, there are no big winners tonight in Tasmania. Tasmania already had a minority Liberal government between 1996 and 1998 and a minority Labor government between 1989 and 1992. That outcome seems most likely, but a Liberal-Green or Labor-Green government must also be on the cards, but the coalition option isn’t as popular. However, Labor staying in power seems to be getting unlikelier by the minute.

The FN and the French Regionals

The FN’s success of sorts, polling 11.42% and qualifying for the runoff in 12 regions, has been one of the major points of the first round of the regional elections. While the FN’s result is around 3.3% below its result six years ago, and that it will lose seats in a handful of regional councils as a result, the FN’s result is superior to the 10.4% polled by Le Pen in the 2007 election, but also to the FN’s results in the 2007 legislative and 2009 European elections, both of which were below 10%. The media has tried to answer the question of what caused the FN’s “revival”, but very few have attempted to answer the other question of who voted for the FN on March 14 but who hadn’t voted FN in 2007 and 2009.

A look at the FN’s electorate on Sunday provides a basic start, but provides little surprises. The FN’s best performances are with younger voters, but young voters with lower education, but most notably with blue-collar workers (19%, according to OpinionWay, with the traditionally blue-collar ouvriers) and also with smaller lower middle-class employees (15% with employés according to OpinionWay). The FN’s results are obviously much weaker with more educated and more liberal categories, such as cadres (only 5% in this category including managers, researchers and professionals). On the other hand, the exit poll shows that 12% of artisans, traditionally small business owners, who tend to be white and share concerns about insecurity and immigration. These numbers only provide a cursory overlook of a complex situation, given that the FN’s electorate, being one which is based a lot around protest voting, dances around a whole lot.

Below is a map of the FN vote by canton produced by geoclip.

The FN’s electorate has always been concentrated in the east, which is traditionally the most industrial region of France. No surprises on that front. Firstly, the traditional patterns of FN areas of strength are there, along the Mediterranean coastline with either Pieds-Noirs voters or middle-class voters voting against immigration and insecurity. Secondly, in the Garonne Valley from Bordeaux to Castres (Tarn), an area of traditional Pieds-Noirs settlement, forming a line of support for the far-right ever since 1962. However, in PACA, the FN’s traditional electoral base, had been seriously hurt by Sarkozy in 2007. His tough stance on immigration and security issues appealed well to both white blue-collar workers around Marseille (where immigration is high) but also to the wealthier middle-class electorate in areas such as the Var and Alpes-Maritimes. Yet, in 2010, the FN’s strongest gains came from the Alpes-Maritimes, where Le Pen had polled only 13.47% in 2007 but jumped to 22.01%. Here, an electorate attached to what the media calls the “value of (hard) work” and “meritocracy” have turned rather en masse against Sarkozy’s party, angered perhaps by Sarkozy’s ‘green’ policies such as the carbon tax proposal but also by the scandal concerning Sarkozy’s nomination of his son to head a major public agency. A closer look at the FN’s vote in 2010 along the Mediterranean shows important gains in traditionally more bourgeois quarters, in places such as Cagnes-sur-Mer, Antibes or Cannes. However, perhaps Le Pen’s personality as a candidate further sped up the party’s gains here.

A same pattern could be seen in other areas of France with similar concentrations of small employees, middle-class voters or middle-class retirees. For example, the FN’s vote in rural areas such as the Marne and the Aube have come back to the party’s fold, and sometimes even improving on Le Pen’s 2007 showing in these areas. The high FN vote in these often poor (for rural areas), isolated and “forgotten” areas is not local only to Marne or Aube. The same pattern can be seen in parts of the Centre, the Yssingelais in Haute-Loire, parts of the Drôme, eastern Orne, parts of Eure, and so on.

Another area where the FN gained vis-a-vis 2007 was the Greater Paris area, with the party’s vote returning in exurban or suburban white middle-class areas similar to those described above. Such areas, located in Seine-et-Marne, the Oise, Eure-et-Loir or Val-d’Oise were prime areas for Sarkozy in 2007, and he gained considerably there. Closer to Paris, gains in areas with high immigration and local security problems have also turned back to the FN, with the party considerably increasing in areas of eastern Val-d’Oise. In Villiers-le-Bel, which saw riots in 2007, the FN polled 15.2%, against 10.3% in 2007. The same pattern is seen over and over again in the eastern reaches of the Val-d’Oise, northern Seine-Saint-Denis and further extending into the Oise and Seine-et-Marne. Perhaps the perceived failure of Sarkozy’s security policies by these voters can explain these gains?

The other aspect which one must look at is the effect of unemployment. According to the exit poll, the FN polled around 16% with those voters and the correlation is strong between unemployment and a high FN vote, though this isn’t a new thing. Lorraine provides a perfect example, as it gave the UMP a surprisingly low vote  (24% in a traditionally right-wing region) and the FN polled nearly 15%. There is a correlation between working-class and a high FN vote in a lot of places, but we need to be careful of assuming a working-class locale leads to a high FN vote. A lot of old mining areas in the southwest don’t distinguish themselves for their high FN vote. Neither do or did left-leaning mining or industrial areas in Lorraine, such as the traditionally Communist areas around Longwy or Moyeuvre-Grande in Moselle. The FN’s best results come from working-class areas which have recently suffered from high unemployment, factory closures and the like. Gandrange, the nationally famous town where Sarkozy promised in 2007 that a steel mill wouldn’t close but did close is located in Moselle. Now, Gandrange isn’t a right-wing stronghold or any of that kind but Sarkozy won narrowly in the runoff, and it is a good example. The FN polled 15.8%. The FN’s results are even stronger as you reach the area around Forbach, a Catholic but very industrial steel and coal driven area (it isn’t a stronghold of the left as one could assume because of its clerical Catholic traditions), and also an area with a high unemployment rate (7.6% in 2008 in the Forbach area, third highest in Lorraine). In Freyming-Merlebach, the FN polled 25% (19% in 2007). In Stiring-Wendel, another base of French coal mining in the past, the FN polled 23.4%. In rural areas of Lorraine (Meuse), areas which tend to be isolated and “forgotten” by Paris and also have high unemployment, the FN neared 20%. The same pattern extends to Marne, Aube; other rural areas described above.

In the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Marine Le Pen’s strong groundwork in the old mining basin of the Pas-de-Calais and local strength undoubtedly helped, but the patterns are similar. The same link between unemployment and a high vote for the FN is seen again. The FN is easily over 20% in most of the old mining basin of the Pas-de-Calais, and it even nears 40% in Henin-Beaumont, Marine’s new electoral base (where a divided local left and corrupt PS has helped the FN even more). The same pattern cannot be seen entirely as clearly in the Nord, especially in the electoral base of Alain Bocquet, the Left Front candidate, who is a popular deputy for an old part of the Nord stretch of the mining basin, but whose vote reflects the same pattern as the FN vote does. A similar thing happened along the Channel coast of Seine-Maritime from Le Havre till Dieppe, where the strong locally-based candidacy of Jumel for the Left Front likely took votes that could have gone FN otherwise.  In this region as well, the FN did well in rural areas, though some of that strength likely comes from hunters formerly in the CPNT fold more than the “isolated forgotten rural vote” pattern described earlier.

This link between unemployed voters and FN voters is nothing new, it is just a second coming of the patterns already seen in 2002 or even 2004, but patterns erased a bit in 2007 or 2009. Neither is it a factor local to the Pas-de-Calais and Moselle. The FN vote saw a similar jump around the “Peugeot” area of Belfort-eastern Doubs, polling up to 22% in Sochaux, an industrial city.

A pattern which is new, however, is bourgeois support for the FN. Bourgeois not of the kind found in Provence, who tend to be a bit less affluent and historically concerned by immigration and the like, but bourgeois of the old type, wealthy, right-wing and moderate on issues such as Europe or even immigration. These are found in the stereotypically wealthy areas of Paris, in the 16th arrondissement, in the Yvelines, or in Lyon’s 2nd and 6th. Back in 1979, when the FN polled 1%, it got a “good” share of its vote from these very wealthy people, but the 1980s shift in emphasis to unemployment, immigration resulted in the “popularization” of the FN vote (both in terms of popularity, yes, but also a shift to the quartiers populaires, or poorer areas). The FN’s best arrondissement in Paris was the 16th, with 7.1% of the vote. Now, you’ll tell me that isn’t a lot, but it remains above city average and is considerable. The other high points are also to be found in the wealthy Parisian west, 6.8% in the 17th or 6.7% in the 8th (both very wealthy as well) and not as much in the poorer east (though the vote is still high there). The FN’s results in other areas synonymous with wealth are also high: 8.7% in Versailles (7.6% in 2007), 6.3% in Neuilly-sur-Seine (3.8% in 2007) and so on. The vote here reflects a protest vote from a right-wing electorate with traditional values who disapprove of Sarkozy, perhaps disillusioned with Sarkozy’s policies of left-leaning cabinet ministers? A similar pattern is seen in Lyon, but not as much in Marseille (though even there it has shifted around).

Because Marseille is much more pied-noir, but also much more ethnically diverse and economically polarized (Paris has poor areas, but no real inner-city poor areas like the old PCF areas of Marseille’s 8th sector; Lyon is even wealthier and middle-class on a general outlook) the FN vote is a bit more based on old insecurity/immigration issues than it seems to be in Paris and Lyon, as well as a bit more stagnant, though not entirely, this election shows it well. This time you had much stronger showings in UMP areas than in old left-wing areas. It highlights well the nature of the protest vote this time around.

A final note on Corse, where Le Pen polled nearly 15% in 2007 but where the FN, regionally, is quasi-inexistent. A surprisingly large number of Corsican nationalists vote FN in national elections, perhaps the result of a quasi-xenophobe and ‘closed down’ attitude of a fraction of the Corsican nationalist vote.

The UMP should look at this trend, if it confirms itself in later elections, worryingly. The electorate which shifted back to the FN had carried Sarkozy to a comfortable victory in 2007, and this time, disappointed with Sarkozy, they might not be as tempted to carry Sarkozy or the UMP in 2012. At all.

Colombia 2010

Colombia held elections to both houses of Congress on March 14, electing 102 Senators in a single nationwide constituency and 166 deputies elected in 33 regional constituencies. These elections precede the May 30 presidential elections, elections marked by the retirement (rather forced) of incumbent President Álvaro Uribe, in office since 2002. Uribe’s attempt to stand for a third term were turned down by the Constitutional Court in late February 2010 by a 7-2 margin.

Colombian politics, like politics in most South American countries, used to be dominated by two parties: the Liberals, who favoured free trade, a federal state and separation of church and state; and the Conservatives, led by landowners and the clergy who supported a centralized state with close links to the Catholic Church and an economic policy based around protectionism. In early Colombian history, both parties peacefully and rather ‘democratically’ alternated in power until armed revolt first emerged in 1899 with the Thousands Day War, which lasted until 1902 and led to the loss of Panama in 1903. Another armed conflict emerged in 1948 between Conservatives and Liberals after the assassination of popular Liberal populist presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. This era, which ended in around 1958, became known as La Violencia and led to the rise of a bi-partisan National Front in 1957 which overthrew a military government and which ruled Colombia until 1974. Under the National Front, the Liberals and Conservatives alternated in powers for four presidential terms (a Liberal government was followed by a Conservative and then a Liberal government returned, and so on). Despite quelling a lot of the violence, and instituting some social reforms, the National Front failed to solve a number of social and economic problems which led to the emergence of now-infamous left-leaning guerrilla movements, such as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, founded in 1964 as the military wing of the Communist Party but the links are long gone and the FARC is now a large, wealthy and strong group financed by drug cartels and kidnappings). The National Front ended in 1974, but the Liberals and Conservatives, whose ideological differences were by now quasi-inexistent, continued to dominate a two-party system dominated more and more by powerful drug lords, drug cartels and right-wing paramilitaries. Attempted negotiations between the FARC and Colombia’s Conservative President Andres Pastrana between 1999 and 2002 failed and led to the final collapse of the two-party system amidst popular disillusionment with Conservatives and Liberals.

A former Liberal, Álvaro Uribe was elected President in 2002 on a platform criticizing Pastrana’s peace process and promising to crack down on the FARC and paramilitaries. Elected by a large margin, he was re-elected in 2006. Due to his relative success in dealing with the FARC and despite the parapolitics scandal in which a number of politicians were accused of links with paramilitaries, Uribe has maintained a high approval rating throughout his term. His presidency has also led to the emergence of new political forces, the two largest of which are the Social National Unity Party (the Partido de la U), the primary Uribist party; and the anti-Uribe left-wing Alternative Democratic Pole which supports negotiations with the FARC. The Liberal Party is largely in opposition to Uribe, while the Conservatives, Radical Change (a 1998 splinter of the Liberals) and the new Party of National Integration are members of Uribe’s majority. A Green Party has also recently emerged, and its ranks include three former Bogota mayors including Luis Eduardo Garzón and Antanas Mockus.

Here are the Senate results with 93.8% of votes counted, using results from CaracolTV and Spanish Wikipedia:

Party of the U 26.32% winning 27 seats (+7)
Conservative 21.57% winning 21 seats (+3)
Liberal 16.56% winning 18 seats (nc)
Party of National Integration 8.71% winning 8 seats (+8)
Radical Change 8.34% winning 8 seats (-2)
Alternative Democratic Pole 8.1% winning 8 seats (-2)
Green Party 4.99% winning 4 seats (+4)
MIRA 2.8% winning 2 seats (nc)

The pro-Uribe parties weigh 64 seats, against 26 for the opposition and 6 others (4 Greens, 2 MIRA) which are tricky to classify.

These elections are good indicators for the May presidential ballot. In a primary held the same day, former ambassador Noemí Sanín narrowly won the Conservative nomination against  former Agriculture Minister Andrés Arias. Both are close Uribe allies. Antanas Mockus won the Green nomination. The major candidates also in the field include Defense Minister and close Uribe ally Juan Manuel Santos, Rafael Pardo of the Liberal Party, Gustavo Petro on the left for the PDA and Germán Vargas Lleras, another close Uribe ally for Radical Change. A runoff is likely, but Juan Manuel Santos seems to be the early frontrunner.

French Regionals 2010: First Round

The first round by department (red in Haute-Corse is Giacobbi)

As you know, the first round of the French regional elections were held yesterday, March 14. All 26 regional councils in France and overseas were up for re-election, six years after the 2004 regional election. As predicted, the left was the major winner and is on route to another good night next week, on March 21 where all but one region will hold runoffs and the real winners will be determined. However, the surprise also came from the far-right, who had a resurgence last night.

Here are, according to the Interior Ministry, the national results. I disagree with some of their political classifications, especially overseas, but it gives a good general picture:

PS and allies 29.14%
Presidential Majority (UMP-NC-MPF-CPNT) 26.02%
Europe Ecologie 12.18%
FN 11.42%
Left Front 5.84%
MoDem 4.20%
Far-left (NPA and LO) 3.40%
Other Left 3.05%
Other Right 1.24%
Other Lists 3.52%

Abstention broke a record, with over half of voters not turning out. Turnout was only 46.34%, an historic low for any regional election, and also an historic low for almost all non-European elections in France (only the 1988 cantonals had lower turnout). Turnout was over 50% in Auvergne, Corse (where 62.4% turned out, a high), Franche-Comté, Limousin, Midi-Pyrénées and Poitou-Charentes. Even the “good students” of western France, used to high turnout, such as Bretagne or Pays-de-Loire had sub-50% turnout. The lowest turnout was 41.55% in Lorraine, turnout was also low in Ile-de-France (urban voters, with mountainous voters, are usually the most likely to abstain) and in most of eastern France (where turnout is usually low or lower). Turnout was surprisingly high overseas (but took a nosedive in Reunion, for example), undoubtedly due to the more local nature of these elections. The UMP claims that high abstention means that it cannot be a vote ‘against’ the government per se, and it isn’t entirely wrong since all polls showed that 60% or so of voters voted based on local circumstances but almost nobody voted to show their appreciation with Sarko.

The major national results to take out of this election is the victory of the PS, which is again re-established at the top force on the left and ahead of the UMP, which does awful generally (a look at regions and the first indicators for runoffs in regions will show that). The Greens stay in third, quite a bit under their 2009 success (around 30% or so of their voters voted PS this time), but 2009 wasn’t a fluke and in larger context, 12% for the Greens in France is still excellent and shows that they’re here to stay. They qualify in 10 regions (I think, might be wrong), but will likely stay in only in Bretagne and merge with the PS everywhere else. The Greens and Left Front are picky partners now for the PS, and they demand a ‘proportional’ split of seats on the PS lists based on the results of the first round. So far, only Bretagne seems to be escaping from a large PS-Gren-Left deal.

What has been picked up universally is the retour en force of the FN, with 11%, superior to Le Pen’s 2007 showing and a welcome respite (for them) of awful results lately. It shows right-wing discontent with government, a vote influenced by security concerns and also by a national identity debate launched by the government earlier this year. The left accused the UMP of feeding the FN, which is quite dumb. Sarkozy, whose victory in 2007 was owed in part to support from FN voters, should worry about this because it indicates a total destruction of the UMP with working-class voters (exit polls show, for workers, 35% for the PS, 22% for the FN and only 15% for the UMP – Sarkozy did very well with white working-class voters in 2007, a lot of whom voted for Le Pen in 2002) and also that some of his FN supporters have returned home – and now they might be mightily pissed at being “let down” by Sarkozy and extremely reluctant to vote UMP/Sarkozy ever again. The direction which FN voters go in the 10 regions where it isn’t in the runoff will be interesting to watch.

Left of the PS, the victor is the Left Front, which establishes itself as the main force to play with there. It trounces Besancenot’s NPA, which ends up being nothing but a bad joke and a little short-lasting fad. The PS has new partners in the Left Front, and they too will be picky.

The MoDem is totally destroyed, it only breaks 10% in Aquitaine and 5% in a mere 3 regions! The MoDem is out, and the left of the PS is happy. As Mélenchon pointed out in his usual style, “the MoDem is out, and good riddance to them.” The Green members who joined the MoDem in its 2007 heyday will be reconsidering their life choices, especially Yann Wehrling in Alsace.

We’ll analyse each region in depth and give indicators for the runoff. Let’s go in order.

Alsace:

Philippe Richert (UMP) 34.94%
Jacques Bigot (PS) 18.97%
Jacques Fernique (EE-MEI) 15.60%
Patrick Binder (FN) 13.49%
Jacques Cordonnier (Alsace d’abord) 4.98%
Yann Wehrling (MODEM) 4.44%
Jean-Yves Causer (FG) 1.86%
Yvan Zimmermann (NPA) 1.64%
Manuel Santiago (Ecolo) 1.61%
Patrick Stirby (DVD-AC) 1.6%
Julien Wostyn (LO) 0.86%

Turnout was 43.4%. In the only metropolitan region held by the UMP, the right is having a hard time holding this region where the popularity and centrist attitude of late President Adrien Zeller undoubtedly helped it win in 2004. While Richert, with 34.9% does do slightly better than Zeller did in 2004 (34.1%), the decline of the far-right vote in a region where the far-right vote is usually less working-class and more rural conservative should have helped the right more. With a combined 18.47%, the far-right, which includes the regionalist Alsace d’abord (9.4% in 2004), falls more than ten percent from the combined 28% won by the FN and Alsace d’abord in 2004. Yet, the right, with 36.54%, does hardly better than Zeller’s UMP-UDF list had done in 2004. The major winners are the left and ecologists, which stand at 38.04% of the vote compared to 31.25% in 2004 (including 7.4% for Waechter’s centrist green MEI movement, which this time ran with Jacques Fernique). Finally, the very poor result of the MoDem in one of the old strongholds of French centrism and Christian democracy. Proof, if any, that the MoDem is not the party of traditional French centrism and Christian democracy any more. More proof can be found out west.

The runoff will likely be a three-way runoff, between the UMP, the PS (which will receive the support of EE) and the FN. Zeller had managed to grow his runoff result to 43.6%, likely the result of a good number of Alsace d’abord voters voting for him over Binder. One could assume that far-right lists outside of the FN would undoubtedly flow to the FN, but there is lots of bad blood involved in those internal civil wars and splits, and vote transfers from those lists to the FN are usually quite bad (Megret’s voters, in the 2002 presidential election, did not all vote for Le Pen in the runoff, far from it). If the left can get all its first round voters behind Bigot and get far-left voters as well, it can win, because it stands at 38% without the far-left and 40.5% with. If Richert can get around 10% of Green voters, 20% of far-left voters (according to historic polls, a fair share of far-left voters do vote for the right in a runoff, surprisingly) and also most Alsace d’abord and MoDem voters, he too can win. Remains to be seen, however, if what remains of the MoDem in Alsace is still centre-right or if it too has shifted to the left (with a former Green as the MoDem candidate, one could assume so). Too close to call.

Aquitaine:

Alain Rousset (PS) 37.63%
Xavier Darcos (UMP) 22.05%
Jean Lassalle (MoDem) 10.43%
Monique De Marco (EE) 9.75%
Jacques Colombier (FN) 8.27%
Gérard Boulanger (FG) 5.95%
Philippe Poutou (NPA) 2.52%
Michel Chrétien (AEI) 1.94%
Nelly Malaty (LO) 0.79%
Jean Tellechea (PNB) 0.66%
Xavier-Philippe Larralde (EHB) 0.02%

Turnout was 49.56%. The left, already strong from Rousset’s excellent first round result, is heavily favoured going into the runoff. With EE narrowly below 10% and the Left Front almost at 6%, the PS shouldn’t face extremely picky partners and the Left will undoubtedly be happy to re-enter the Regional Council which it got shut out of in 2004 because its independent first-round list fell below 5%. With 53.33%, the left has a majority already and can win even if all other voters vote for Darcos. Its result is over 10% of the combined left’s 42.8% in 2004. With 22.1%, Darcos improves on his own 2004 showing (18.4%), but the fall of the MoDem (Bayrou, as UDF candidate, had won 16.1% in 2004), the FN (which had qualified for the runoff in 2004 with 11.5%) and also the Hunters’ alliance with the UMP (CPNT had won 7.2% in the 2004 first round) should have helped the right more. However, it is important to note that CPNT voters here are left-leaning, and a lot of them had already left the fold in the 2009 European elections, when Libertas (MPF-CPNT) performed poorly here. With 10.4%, the MoDem has its best national result but falls very much below the 16% won by Bayrou in 2004. In the MoDem’s heartland of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, it stands at 17.7%. But in the home town of Bayrou himself, the PS is ahead of the MoDem!

Lassalle will likely stay on in the runoff, the MoDem will not want to waste such a good result won on its own. Even then, Rousset will find nobody to block his route to re-election. He will easily break the 54.9% he won in the 2004 runoff, and he could even sail past 60%. Darcos will improve only minimally on his 33.5% runoff result and take a major hit. The FN, on the other hand, will not re-enter the regional assembly where it had 7 seats.

Auvergne:

Alain Marleix (UMP) 28.72%
René Souchon (PS) 28.03%
André Chassaigne (FG) 14.24%
Christian Bouchardy (EE) 10.69%
Érik Faurot (FN) 8.39%
Michel Fanget (MoDem-AEI) 4.51%
Alain Laffont (NPA) 4.19%
Marie Savre (LO) 1.22%

Turnout was 50.24%. Despite being held by Giscard until 2004, Auvergne is a left-wing region and Marleix can be happy that he still managed to come first here. Yet, he falls very much below Giscard’s 36.4% in 2004, and Souchon, with 28% is only slightly below the 28.22% won by the PS (alone) in 2004. This despite the Left Front’s excellent result: with a very popular deputy with a strong personal base in the Puy-de-Dome, he has won a record for his party, 14.2%. He falls short of 20% in the Puy-de-Dome and wins 13.8% in the Allier, an old Communist stronghold. The Greens also improve on their 2004 result (5.6%) and also break 10%. They will likely both merge with Souchon’s list: all together, they weight 52.96% – which is more than the 52.67% won by the left in the 2004 two-way runoff. With around 20% of FN votes, 50-60% of MoDem votes and a good 80% of the far-left, Souchon could even sail past 60% in the runoff. Especially because Marleix has very little reserves.

Marleix did manage the best departmental result for the UMP, 41.93% in the Cantal (still below Giscard’s 2004 showing), this despite Souchon also being from Cantal. Marleix represents the Catholic east of the Cantal and the conservative Saint-Flour plateau, while Souchon represents the more industrial and anti-clerical Aurillac basin.

Bourgogne:

François Patriat (PS-PCF) 36.31%
François Sauvadet (NC-UMP) 28.83%
Édouard Ferrand (FN) 12.04%
Philippe Hervieu (EE) 9.84%
Sylvie Faye Pastor (NPA-PG) 4.32%
François Deseille (MoDem) 3.77%
Julien Gonzalez (AEI) 2.04%
Claire Rocher (LO) 1.56%
Joël Mekhantar (MRC) 1.29%

Turnout was 46.25%. Ahead in the first round with a rather excellent result (superior even to his 2004 result, 36% in 2004, when the Greens supported Patriat!), Patriat will win easily in the runoff. Sauvadet does place above the previous result of the UMP: 21.78% in 2004 – but with an extremely bad candidate (Jean-Pierre Soisson) but very much below the combined total of the UMP and UDF (he was the UDF’s 2004 candidate) in 2004, which was 34.76% (transfers from Sauvadet to Soisson were so bad that Soisson only managed 32.14% in the runoff!). The FN does manage to get into the runoff, but is below the combined FN-MNR total of 17.52% in the 2004 first round. A note also on the good result won by the NPA, which had the support of PCF dissidents and the PG in this region. With the addition of EE, Patriat has 46.15% of the vote and he will manage to do better than his 52.49% runoff total in 2004 without that much trouble.

Bretagne:

Jean-Yves Le Drian (PS-PCF) 37.19%
Bernadette Malgorn (UMP) 23.73%
Guy Hascoët (EE) 12.21%
Jean-Paul Félix (FN) 6.18%
Bruno Joncour (MoDem) 5.36%
Christian Troadec (PB-AEI) 4.29%
Gérard Perron (PG-PCF diss) 3.51%
Charles Laot (rural list) 2.64%
Laurence de Bouard (NPA) 2.49%
Valérie Hamon (LO) 1.47%
Alexandre Noury (LaRouchite) 0.94%

Turnout was 48.82%. Le Drian falls slightly below his 2004 result, where he also faced a Green list but had PCF support, 38.48%. Yet, with the addition of the EE votes and those of Perron, he has 52.91%, superior to his the combined PS-Greens in 2004 (nearly 49% then). He faces no problem in the runoff. Despite having a high-profile candidate in Hascoët, the Greens’ 12% result will come as a disappointment to them. Likely the result of not only the decline of the Green vote since June last year, but also the candidacy of the regionalist mayor of Carhaix, Christian Troadec whose voters likely voted Green in 2004 and about half probably also voted Green in 2009 (the regionalist PB only won 2.8% in June 2009, compared to 4.3% now). The right, divided and with a very poor candidate, falls below the 25.6% won by the UMP alone in 2004 and obviously does not take any benefit at all from the decline of the UDF-MoDem and the far-right. Finally, the centre,  despite a well-implanted candidate (who managed 9.3% in his home department of the Cotes-d’Armor, making his vote quasi-entirely a friends-and-neighbors vote) and the region being a traditionally fertile ground for centrist parties, barely breaks 5%. It will undoubtedly be a very bad result to digest for the MoDem in a region where it had a strong candidate and an history favourable to the old centre.

There will be a triangulaire here, with Le Drian refusing any deal with EE. He knows he doesn’t need them, so he’s happy to exclude them from his list. He had managed 58.79% in the 2004 runoff against a better candidate (Josselin de Rohan, also the incumbent), so against a bad candidate like Malgorn, the runoff will prove no problem, even with Hascoët (Hascoët should poll roughly 15% or so, with most new voters being Troadec voters).

Centre:

Hervé Novelli (UMP) 29.02%
François Bonneau (PS) 28.22%
Jean Delavergne (EE) 11.66%
Philippe Loiseau (FN) 11.21%
Marie-France Beaufils (FG) 7.53%
Marc Fesneau (MoDem) 5.08%
Jean Verdon (PDF) 3.55%
Michel Lasserre (NPA) 2.60%
Farida Megdoud (LO) 1.13%

Turnout was 46.43%. Novelli had wished that he could gain the Centre for the UMP, notably through his notoriety (as a cabinet member) and Bonneau’s low notoriety. He places ahead in the first round, but he finds himself with little vote reserves, especially with the FN narrowly qualified for the runoff – despite the presence of a dissident list led by Jean Verdon. With barely 29%, he places around 8-9% higher than the UMP did in 2004, but below the 34.41% result of the combined UMP and UDF in 2004 (38.73% including the Hunters). On the other hand, the Greens manage to theoretically qualify for the runoff and led by a popular and well-implanted Senator, the Left Front manages a good result with 7.5%. High support in Beaufils’ native Indre-et-Loire as well as traditional Communist strength in the Cher and Indre likely helped the Left Front. The MoDem narrowly wins 5%, allowing it to merge with a list.

With 47.41% for the combined left (38.15% in 2004), again excluding the far-left, a Novelli victory is impossible, especially with the FN likely to pull 10-12% in the runoff.

Champagne-Ardenne:

Jean-Luc Warsmann (UMP) 31.77%
Jean-Paul Bachy (PS-PCF) 31.01%
Bruno Subtil (FN) 15.89%
Éric Loiselet (EE) 8.48%
Anthony Smith (NPA-PG) 4.87%
Marie Grafteaux-Paillard (MoDem) 4.34%
Ghislain Wysocinski (AEI) 1.99%
Thomas Rose (LO) 1.65%

Turnout was 43.05%. Champagne-Ardenne, one of the left’s most narrow wins in 2004 and by consequence the top UMP target this year, is unlikely to switch. Despite a good candidate and a very right-leaning region, the UMP only manages 31.77% of the vote and, again, finds itself with no certain vote reserves. Furthermore, the FN’s retour en force here doesn’t help the UMP’s chances much – with 15.89%, the FN isn’t far from its 19.72% result in 2004 (21.77% including the MNR). EE falls below 10% in one of the regions where it is traditionally weak, but this time, unlike in 2004, Bachy will merge with the Greenies. As in Bourgogne, the NPA’s good result is probably due to the support of the PG and also of PCF dissidents.

With the Greens, the left without the far-left weighs 39.49% and that number becomes 46.01% with the inclusion of the far-left. Bachy had won in 2004 with a narrow plurality of 41.9% against 39.8% for the UMP. In one of the UMP’s strongest regions, this is a very poor result. The return of the FN, rural discontent and working-class backlash has undoubtedly hurt the UMP a lot. The result will be ‘narrow’ by the other results of the night, but still a comfortable hold for the left.

Corse:

Camille de Rocca Serra (UMP) 21.34%
Gilles Simeoni (Femu a Corsica-PNC) 18.40%
Paul Giacobbi (PRG-PS) 15.48%
Dominique Bucchini (FG) 10.02%
Jean-Guy Talamoni (Corsica Libera) 9.36%
Émile Zuccarelli (PRG) 8.05%
Simon Renucci (CSD) 6.64%
Jean Toma (MoDem) 4.25%
Antoine Cardi (FN) 4.16%
Jean-François Baccarelli (AEI) 1.86%
Jean-François Battini (DVD) 0.46%

Turnout was 62.38%, a national high but down a lot from 2004. Ironically, in one of the two regions currently held by the UMP (and the right since 1984, 26 years), the UMP realizes one of its lowest results! With the local threshold for the Corsican Assembly set at 7%, 6 lists are theoretically qualified for the runoff. With 21.34%, Rocca Serra/Santini places in front, but unlike in 2004, the UMP faced no strong dissident right-wing list. The national climate, but most notably the civil war between Rocca Serra and Santini and a local sentiment that Sarkozy cares little about the island has probably killed the UMP here. The nationalists, weighing 27.76% (17.34% in the 2004 runoff) together, are much stronger in 2010 than in 2004, probably the result of a new generation of nationalist leaders and a more moderate program. In fact, the moderate nationalists (or autonomists, as they should be called) place second. Still, the radicals, who favour independence for the island and do not condemn the FLNC’s violence, have defied the polls and poll 9.4%. Still, given the differences between both, a united nationalist alliance for the runoff is unlikely. On the left, Giacobbi comes out ahead and improves on his 2004 runoff result (15.16%). The Left Front is now the second force on the Corsican left, with 10%, superior to the 8.3% won by Bucchini in the 2004 runoff. Zuccarelli, mayor of Bastia but who lost his seat in the National Assembly in 2007 (being a strong centralist, he was defeated by a UMP-nationalist alliance), falls to only 8% (compared to 18.6% and second place in the 2004 election). This will undoubtedly please Giacobbi, his major internal rival. Renucci polls only 6.6%, which is below the 7.8% he won in 2004.

The UMP did not hold a majority in 2004: the combined left held 24 seats altogether, but their division (Zuccarelli-Giacobbi mostly) had led to the UMP’s victory. The UMP can pray for a repeat of that, but the local left has learned its lesson. By the next day, the deal had been sealed between former arch-nemeses, with Giacobbi heading to take the presidency of the executive (held by Ange Santini now) and the communist Dominique Bucchini to take the presidency of the Assembly. The combined left, made up of 4 factions (Giacobbi, Bucchini, Zuccarelli, Renucci), weighs 40.19% together. They can easily win, and the question should be whether or not Simeoni’s moderate nationalists can push the UMP into third place… a sign of how bad things are for the right in Corsica, entrenched in power since 1984.

Franche-Comté:

Alain Joyandet (UMP) 32.13%
Marie-Guite Dufay (PS) 29.86%
Sophie Montel (FN) 13.14%
Alain Fousseret (EE) 9.36%
Evelyne Ternant (FG) 4.05%
Christophe Grudler (MoDem-AEI) 3.52%
Laurence Lyonnais (NPA) 3.28%
Michel Treppo (LO) 1.08%
Christophe Devillers (PDF) 2.46%
Claude Buchot (Ecolo) 1.12%

Turnout was 51.3%. Joyandet realizes a very good result for the UMP, against a little-known PS incumbent. With 32%, he is slightly under the combined 32.5% of the UMP and UDF in 2004, undoubtedly a good result in the current climate. Yet, the left still weighs more, with a combined 43.27% of the votes (35.46% in 2004). In a better climate, the UMP could have hoped to gain Franche-Comté, but even with a good result for Joyandet in the first round, it seems unlikely in 2010. Furthermore, with the return of the FN in the region, the UMP’s chances are even smaller. After a good first round here, the UMP should prepare for a bad runoff. The left, which will have little problem uniting, will easily win.

This should be one of the left’s ‘narrowest’ victories, along with Champagne-Ardenne, though it will still win easily.

Île-de-France:

Valérie Pécresse (UMP) 27.76%
Jean-Paul Huchon (PS) 25.26%
Cécile Duflot (EE) 16.58%
Marie-Christine Arnautu (FN) 9.28%
Pierre Laurent (FG) 6.55%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (DLR-CNI) 4.15%
Alain Dolium (MoDem) 3.98%
Olivier Besancenot (NPA) 3.13%
Jean-Marc Governatori (AEI) 1.40%
Axel de Boer (Christian List) 0.85%
Jean-Pierre Mercier (LO) 0.63%
Almamy Kanoute (DVG) 0.42%

Turnout was 43.89%. As expected, Pécresse is able to place ahead of Huchon in the first round, but she faces a very important vote deficit against the left ahead of the runoff. In 2004, the UMP and Santini’s UDF list counted for 40.91% in the first round, but this time the combined right is only 32.76% – despite the decline of the FN and the collapse of the centre. She will need to look to the FN for votes, which are not likely come en masse from the far-right either. With 25.3%, Huchon is far ahead of the Greens, who still realize a good result with 16.6%. There are no major roadblocks for a Huchon-Duflot deal, a deal which will be joined by the Left Front. Together, the left weights 48.81%, far ahead of their combined 39.15% in 2004 (first round). Dupont-Aignan wins a good and pleasing result, doing very well (8.6%) in his home department of Essonne and nearly breaking 50% in his stronghold of Yerres! His votes could provide a reserve for Pécresse, at least one which is likely to transfer relatively well. The MoDem, whose black candidate was treated as the French Obama, took a thumping with less than 4% of the votes. He did not appeal to wealthier centrist voters nor did he appeal to immigrants who could share some common social ground with him. Finally, a bad result for Besancenot, who despite being well-known and leading the NPA, barely breaks 3%. The NPA was definitely a very short-lived fad.

The left is heavily favoured in this two way runoff, and the UMP could even struggle to match the 40.72% in won in the 2004 runoff!

Languedoc-Roussillon:

Georges Frêche (DVG) 34.28%
Raymond Couderc (UMP) 19.63%
France Jamet (FN) 12.67%
Jean-Louis Roumégas (EE) 9.12%
René Revol (FG-NPA) 8.59%
Hélène Mandroux (PS) 7.74%
Patrice Drevet (AEI) 3.87%
Christian Jeanjean (CNI) 2.03%
Jean-Claude Martinez (PDF) 0.74%
Richard Roudier (Ligue du Midi) 0.68%
Liberto Plana (LO) 0.63%

Turnout was 49.74% in the region everybody was watching. With 34%, the controversial incumbent Georges Frêche, despite alienating much of the left, places himself in a good position ahead of the runoff. His major strength is also the fact that he’s trounced all of his other opponents. Couderc, with less than 20%, has one of the worst results for the UMP in France, this despite rumours that the left’s division could play in his hands. Hurt by Jeanjean’s candidacy, but also by the the lack of media attention on him and Frêche’s ability to rally a vast field of supporters including right-wingers who like his record or his positions on immigration. The most remarkable defeat is that of the anti-Frêche left. Because of their division and of Aubry’s insistence on supporting an official PS candidacy against Frêche, they all failed to break 10%. The Green Roumégas does the best of the 3 anti-Frêche left candidates, with Revol doing well as well. Mandroux’s very poor showing is another major defeat, especially for the central PS and Aubry. In Montpellier, homebase for Frêche, Mandroux and Roumégas; Frêche has 40.73% against 13.86% for Couderc, 12.62% for Roumégas and only 11.36% for the incumbent mayor of Montpellier herself.

With his opponents on the left out of the runoff and facing only a weak UMP and FN, Frêche has the upper hand. He has even reached out to his major opponents on the left. Couderc has said that he himself is open to including Greens and Socialists on his list, but his attempt to create a “Republican Front” of the right and left against Frêche is only a bad wet dream. The PS has called to block the right in the name of so-called “values”, although the whole Mandroux candidacy was also based on values, perhaps different values. Only the Greens and Revol have stayed on their positions, refusing any alliance with Frêche, but not rallying Couderc (who is quite right-wing). Their voters could likely abstain or vote for Frêche. Furthermore, the presence of the FN in the runoff will further hinder what chances Couderc had at the outset (none or very little).

Amusingly, Frêche won the department of Lozère, the home turf of Jacques Blanc (UMP, former President of the Regional Council until 2004) and also a very right-wing department but one with amusing political cleavages and polarized electoral results.

Limousin:

Jean-Paul Denanot (PS) 38.06%
Raymond Archer (UMP) 24.16%
Christian Audouin (FG-NPA) 13.13%
Ghilaine Jeannot-Pagès (EE) 9.73%
Nicole Daccord-Gauthier (FN) 7.76%
Jean-Jacques Bélézy (MoDem) 3.56%
Jean-Louis Ranc (AEI) 2.03%
Elizabeth Faucon (LO) 1.57%

Turnout was 53.80%. In a region which has been held by the PS only since 1986, Denanot should have little trouble destroying Raymond Archer in the runoff, by a very large margin. Archer, already candidate in 2004, improves his standing minimally compared to his own result six years ago (23.33%), but falls below the combined result of the UMP and UDF in the first round six years ago, which was 31.59%. With a combined 60.92%, the left (excluding LO), realizes one of its best results in metropolitan France, and far above that won by the PS and Green lists in 2004 (47.16%). However, the FG-NPA common list, which won 13% of the vote last night in a traditionally strong region for both far-left and traditional communists, probably took all or most of the 6.6% won by the LO-LCR in 2004. Talks between the PS and the Left Front’s list fell apart due to the PS’ refusal to incorporate a NPA candidate into their list, so Limousin, like Bretagne, will see a runoff with two components of the left facing off against each other and the UMP. In Bretagne, it’s Greenies vs. PS, here it’s the Left vs. the PS.

Even in a three-way runoff, Denanot will have no problems at all, and he even then he will easily clear 50%, even 55%. The best Archer can expect, if he wins the support of 100% of MoDem and FN voters is 35.48%, and I don’t see the Left Front expanding much outside the 13-15% range.

Lorraine:

Jean-Pierre Masseret (PS-PCF) 34.36%
Laurent Hénart (UMP) 23.77%
Thierry Gourlot (FN) 14.87%
Daniel Béguin (EE) 9.16%
Claude Bellei (MoDem) 3.16%
Annick Martin (MNR-PDF) 3%
Philippe Leclercq (PG-PCF diss) 3%
Jean-Claude Kaas (AEI) 2.46%
Jean-Luc André (DLR-CNI-AC) 2.25%
Jean-Noël Bouet (NPA) 2.24%
Mario Rinaldi (LO) 1.29%
Victor Villa (Div) 0.35%
Patrice Lefeuvre (Div) 0.08%

Turnout was 41.55%, the lowest in the country. In a traditionally right-wing region, Masseret’s strong showing and Hénart’s weak showing (very weak, I should say) is a surprise. Turnout probably plays a role, or it might be a general backlash against Sarkozy in a region home to Gandrange and other dying industrial cities. Furthermore, Hénart, although a good candidate, was probably hurt by his lack of strong name notoriety. The right, divided in 2004 between incumbent UMP leader Gérard Longuet, a strong UDF but also a strong dissident list led by Senator Jean Louis Masson won a combined 37.54% in the first round (but poor transfers from Masson and the UDF meant that Longuet won only 34.2% in the runoff). Hénart places far below that line, he doesn’t even win 24%. The FN, with 14.87% (17.59% in 2004, first round) also wins a good result, and provides another explanation for Hénart’s weak result. The FN seems to have returned in force, and an analysis of its vote shows its concentration in more right-leaning than left-leaning areas. Lastly, a DLR list, with 2.25% and supported by various local UMP factions in Lorraine, also accounts for part of the UMP’s weakness. On a final note, with 3.16%, the MoDem wins one of its worst result in metro France. To show how volatile and friends-and-neighbors the current MoDem is, Lorraine was one of the party’s best regions (breaking 10%) in the European elections…

In the runoff, with 46.52% for the combined left (again, excluding the far-left), Masseret is heavily favoured and will have no trouble defeating Hénart and a FN which will be able to save most of its 9 incumbent councillors.

Midi-Pyrénées:

Martin Malvy (PS) 40.93%
Brigitte Barèges (UMP) 21.75%
Gérard Onesta (EE) 13.46%
Frédéric Cabrolier (FN) 9.44%
Christian Picquet (FG) 6.91%
Arnaud Lafon (MoDem) 3.78%
Myriam Martin (NPA) 2.89%
Sandra Torremocha (LO) 0.84%

Turnout was 51.75%. Malvy is the big winner of last night, winning the best result for the PS of the night. With 40.9%, he places only slightly below his 2004 showing – 41.4%, but in 2004 he had the support of the PCF, whose Left Front now weighs nearly 7%. Barèges, with 21.8%, does better than Jacques Godfrain (UMP) did in 2004 (19%), but she will find it hard to do better than the 30.46% Godfrain managed in the 2004 runoff. With a combined 61.3%, the left is stronger here than in any other region in metro France. Despite bad relations between Malvy and the Greens and Onesta, a deal was signed with 15 Greenies in eligible positions. With a duel runoff, Malvy will be fighting Denanot for the best percentage of the left in France. Finally, the MoDem, despite nominating a candidate with a natural electoral base (he’s mayor of Castanet-Tolosan), still managed to do very poorly.

Malvy, with Green support, will face no problem in the runoff and is on the easy road to clear 60%, maybe even 65% given how awful it will be for the right.

Nord-Pas-de-Calais:

Daniel Percheron (PS) 26.16%
Valérie Létard (NC-UMP) 19%
Marine Le Pen (FN) 18.31%
Alain Bocquet (FG) 10.78%
Jean-François Caron (EE) 10.34%
Olivier Henno (MoDem) 3.93%
François Dubout (CNI) 3.02%
Pascale Montel (NPA) 3.0%
Eric Pecqueur (LO) 1.44%
Mickaël Poillion (Young farmers) 1.03%

Turnout was 44.53%. There was never much suspense in a region never won by the right, but the interest came from the far-right and Marine Le Pen, testing again her new electoral base in the old mining city of Hénin-Beaumont in the Pas-de-Calais. With 18%, her strong showing is the main point of interest of this election. In the Pas-de-Calais, with 19.8%, she is ahead of Létard’s list, who only wins 15.9%. In her new electoral base of Hénin-Beaumont, she places far ahead of the PS. Due to scandals in the local PS, she’s been able to build up a formidable base there, and this election proves she can use it across the region well. Furthermore, with 18.31% in the first round, she builds on the 17.94% won by the FN in the 2004 first round! Two other smaller lists, the Left Front and EE are also theoretically qualified for the runoff, but as in 2004, both will end up merging with Percheron’s PS list. The left’s results (47.28% overall) are good, but there is only little progression from the combined total of 46.85% in the first round of 2004. This is probably an indication that Le Pen’s voters here also came from the left. The right, which stands at roughly 22% with the CNI list (which is led by an ex-FN member), does worse than the combined UMP and UDF total in 2004 (25.28%).

The runoff will resemble that of 2004, where Percheron had won 51.8% against 28.4% for the right and 19.7% for the far-right. This year, the right and far-right might be only slightly below those numbers, giving the left an even larger advantage.

Basse-Normandie:

Laurent Beauvais (PS-PCF) 32.55%
Jean-François Le Grand (UMP) 27.69%
François Dufour (EE) 12.01%
Rodolphe Thomas (MoDem) 8.09%
Valérie Dupont (FN) 8.70%
Christine Coulon (NPA-PG) 4.99%
Fernand Le Rachinel (PDF) 3.71%
Pierre Casevitz (LO) 1.45%

Turnout was 47.14%. Beauvais, despite having a low name recognition, has come out first in the first round, something which almost guarantees him victory in the runoff. With 32.6%, he improves on the 23.9% won by the PS-PCF list in 2004 (a Green-PRG list had won 8.4%), making this region one of the regions where the PS itself has made its largest gains. On the other hand, the UMP, which had a chaotic nomination process marked by division and which finally nominated a rather mediocre candidate, does worse than the UMP had done in 2004 (28.74%). The other good result of the night comes from the MoDem, which wins its second best result here with a young former deputy with centre-right roots. He likely took a fair share of votes from the UMP, something which, if true, could re-assure the UMP a bit about the runoff. Still, with the combined left standing at 44.56%, Le Grand will need not only the MoDem’s voters to vote en-masse for him (which is very unlikely) but also the FN and the PDF’s voters. With all those voters, most of which won’t come, he could have a shot. But he really doesn’t. Finally, the FN missed out on the runoff probably due to the 3.7% won by Le Rachinel’s dissident list.

What I find interesting here and in the Centre, and we’ll see it again in Pays-de-la-Loire and even Poitou-Charentes, is the very weak results of the UMP in traditionally centrist or centre-right moderate areas. Sarkozy had already done relatively badly in those type of regions in 2007, so it isn’t entirely surprising, but the mere fact that the PS makes its largest gains vis-a-vis 2004’s first round is interesting to pick up. Bretagne doesn’t fit in, since it might have a similar recent political history, but it’s not the same kind of deep political ideology than the one which exists in the inner west.

Haute-Normandie:

Alain Le Vern (PS) 34.87%
Bruno Le Maire (UMP) 25%
Nicolas Bay (FN) 11.79%
Claude Taleb (EE) 9.12%
Sébastien Jumel (FG) 8.39%
Danielle Jeanne (MoDem) 2.88%
Christine Poupin (NPA) 2.56%
Brigitte Briere (DLR-CNI) 1.79%
Carl Lang (PDF) 1.46%
Bernard Frau (AEI) 1.13%
Gisèle Lapeyre (LO) 0.99%

Turnout was 46.38%. The UMP had hopes in Basse-Normandie, but it never had such hopes here. Alain Le Vern, facing a strong EE and FG list unlike in 2004, wins an excellent 34.87%, compared to 38.86% in 2004 when he had the support of the PCF and Greens. Jumel, the young rising-star of the PCF and mayor of Dieppe proves his strong implantation early on in the region and notably in Dieppe, where he takes first place. Here too the FN has returned, with a good showing. The MoDem, with 2.88%, wins one of its worst result in metro France. Carl Lang has definitely forfeited his last hopes at elected office by leaving the FN in 2008. As you like it, Carl.

The combined left stands at 52.38%, against 38.86% for Le Vern’s Union de la gauche list in 2004. The right, on the other hand, falls from the 33.65% won by the UMP and the UDF list (led by the current leader of the NC, Herve Morin, now third on the Eure section of the UMP list) to just 26.79%. Furthermore, with the FN qualified for the runoff, the right is in for a really bad time here in the runoff. Its only openings for votes are Carl Lang, a very small MoDem and some voters here and there. The UMP-UDF won 32.7% in the 2004 runoff, and it faces a very steep road to even match that. A result of around 29-30% for the UMP and 12% for the FN is likely, leaving Le Vern with a highway to landslide wide open.

Pays de la Loire

Jacques Auxiette (PS-PCF) 34.36%
Christophe Béchu (UMP) 32.78%
Jean-Philippe Magnen (EE) 13.64%
Brigitte Neveux (FN) 7.05%
Marc Gicquel (FG-NPA) 5%
Patricia Gallerneau (MoDem-AEI) 4.57%
Eddy Le Beller (LO) 1.60%
Jacky Flippot (PB-AEI) 0.99%

Turnout was 48.24%. The same conclusions I was able to draw on the UMP’s weak showing in Basse-Normandie applies in PDL as well. Béchu, although he received the personal support of Fillon, who presided this region until 2002, and was flaunted by the UMP as their young rising-star has not lived up to expectations well at all. Furthermore, despite the support of Jean Arthuis’ Mayenne-based party, the UMP falls very much below the combined first round total of the UMP and Arthuis in 2004. Auxiette is able to win a strong first place in a region which, for a long time, was the stronghold of a clerical and quasi-reactionary right (and before that, a stronghold of royalism)! The Greens do well in this region, where opposition to the construction of an airport for Nantes-Rennes in Notre-Dame-des-Landes is their hallmark (on a side note, they easily won Notre-Dame-des-Landes) and a region home to Nantes, a very “green” place. The Left Front narrowly breaks 5%, sitting at exactly 5.00%. The MoDem, on the other hand, narrowly misses out on that threshold, despite this being, as said before, a traditionally Christian democratic area. The Parti breton, which supports the reunification of Loire-Atlantique and Nantes with Brittany, ran lists in all departments and managed around 2.6% in Loire-Atlantique but only a handful (literally) of votes in other departments.

With the addition of EE (despite Auxiette’s support for the airport, there should be little roadblocks) and the Left Front, the left weighs 53% – a majority and more than the 52.4% Auxiette had won in the two-way runoff against Fillon’s UMP-UDF in 2004. The last runoff, which was narrow, should not repeat itself and Auxiette will win an historically large victory in a right-wing region. A major defeat for Fillon and also the bébé Sarkozy Béchu.

Picardie:

Claude Gewerc (PS) 26.64%
Caroline Cayeux (UMP) 25.94%
Michel Guiniot (FN) 15.8%
Christophe Porquier (EE) 9.98%
Maxime Gremetz (PCF) 6.21%
Thierry Aury (FG) 5.35%
France Mathieu (MoDem) 3.94%
Sylvain Desbureaux (NPA) 3.01%
Thomas Joly (PDF-MNR) 2.02%
Roland Szpirko (LO) 1.32%

Turnout was 45.55%. The right never had much hope in Picardie either, and it doesn’t have any hopes now. Gewerc, despite low name recognition as well, places first in the first round, and the UMP ends up below the 32.3% won by Gilles de Robien (UDF-UMP) in the first round six years ago. The left has around 48% of the votes, and over 50% including the far-left, when it stood at only 38.28% six years ago. In the civil war/primary between Gremetz the orthodox communist and the official communist, Gremetz won out, probably due to his very strong base in the Somme and his constituency (he wins 11.86% in the Somme, ahead of the FG which is below 5% there). Yet, both communists lists will be eligible to merge, as is EE, which must be angry that it missed it by 0.02% on the magic 10% threshold which would have theoretically qualified it for the runoff. The FN plays very strong in Picardie, but given that it had won nearly 23% six years ago, it’s a “low” result. Furthermore, given that Guiniot isn’t a great fan of Marine Le Pen, it’s another “defeat” for her internal opponents.

In a three-way runoff, Gewerc will win by a much larger margin than in 2004, where he won by about 10% on Robien.

Poitou-Charentes:

Ségolène Royal (PS) 38.98%
Dominique Bussereau (UMP) 29.46%
Françoise Coutant (EE) 11.92%
Jean-Marc de Lacoste-Lareymondie (FN) 7.72%
Gisèle Jean (FG) 4.66%
Pascal Monier (MoDem-AEI) 4.37%
Myriam Rossignol (NPA) 1.85%
Ludovic Gaillard (LO) 1.04%

Turnout was 50.11%. Royal wins one of the best scores for the PS nationally in a region which isn’t a stronghold of the left, showing her strong implantation and popularity in the region. With 39%, she places herself a bit less than 10% ahead of Bussereau, who does not even come first in Charente-Maritime, a department which he himself presides. The Greens do well, though they expected better, and despite shaky relations with Royal, they should find a deal and merge ahead of the runoff. The FN, which got into the 2004 runoff, however, will be shut out this time around and it loses its 3 seats.

Royal, with the left weighing 55.56% on its own without the far-left and centre, is heavily favoured going into the runoff. It is likely that she could even break 60%, Bussereau will indeed find it hard to get extra voters to boost him to at least 40% of the vote in the runoff, which will be a duel. Royal’s strong result here, in addition to the defeat for Aubry’s strategy in Languedoc-Roussillon helps her considerably within her own party, especially ahead of the 2012 election.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur:

Thierry Mariani (UMP) 26.60%
Michel Vauzelle (PS) 25.80%
Jean-Marie Le Pen (FN) 20.29%
Laurence Vichnievsky (EE) 10.92%
Jean-Marc Coppola (FG) 6.11%
Jacques Bompard (Ligue du Sud) 2.69%
Catherine Levraud (MoDem) 2.51%
Patrice Miran (AEI) 2.33%
Pierre Godard (NPA) 2.11%
Isabelle Bonnet (LO) 0.62%

Turnout was 44.88%. Despite indications by polling that the FN’s vote was shifting to the north, Le Pen father won the party’s best result in its historic electoral base of PACA. He even breaks 20% and is only 3% or so below the 2004 result of the FN (his candidacy here in 2004 had been refused), showing that the FN’s base with Pieds-Noirs and some working-class voters in this region is still very much alive. Finally, Bompard’s list does rather “well” with nearly 3%, though his vote is almost entirely concentrated around his electoral base of Orange (which he won, with 39% or so), and outside of that he had no effect on the FN vote. The old battle between Mariani and Vauzelle turns in favour of the first for the first round, but again, vote reserves are very bad for the UMP, I can only see Bompard’s cryptic far-right outfit as likely voters for Mariani in the runoff as well as a part of the MoDem and the AEI. Though Mariani notes that Vauzelle’s result is quite bad for an incumbent president (not entirely wrong, Vauzelle is a bit old and a bit “used” personally), he’s wrong in thinking that it isn’t all over. Thanks to good relations with EE and the Left, he can count on their support (42.83% altogether, against 36.58% in 2004) and that of most of the far-left as well. Mariani does face a tough runoff, and the right’s strength in the wealthyland of the Riviera isn’t enough to win in this region.

In 2004, Vauzelle won 45% in the runoff against 33.8% for the right and 21% for the FN. Something eerily, very eerily similar to that result is to be expected.

Rhône-Alpes:

Françoise Grossetête (UMP) 26.39%
Jean-Jack Queyranne (PS) 25.40%
Philippe Meirieu (EE) 17.83%
Bruno Gollnisch (FN) 14.01%
Élisa Martin (FG) 6.31%
Azouz Begag (MoDem) 4.33%
Myriam Combet (NPA) 2.43%
Michel Dulac (DVD) 1.9%
Nathalie Arthaud (LO) 1.42%

Turnout was 43.18%. This is another region where the PS won’t be in much trouble, despite facing a three-way with the FN. Grossetête is ahead, yes, but again, Queyranne will not face much trouble though the Greenies, strong from their best showing nationally here, will be very picky. The Greenies polled well in their traditional bases of strength in Savoie and the Grenoble basin and its surrounding areas, as well as in the urban core of Lyon. They can theoretically qualify for the runoff, but it is extremely unlike that they’ll stay in, given that they could get good stuff out of the PS. Gollnisch, with 14% is qualified for the runoff, but given that he won 18% here in 2004 and the national context, it isn’t as good a result as the one won by Le Pen senior or by Gollnisch’s internal rival, Marine.

The PS, in addition to EE and the Left, are worth 50.53% against 28.29% for the right and 14.01% for the far-right. On those numbers, Queyranne is assured re-election. In 2004, he had won 46.5% against 38.2% for the incumbent right (led by a much better candidate) and 15.3% for the FN. This time, a result around 54% for Queyranne against only 32% for the right and 14% for the FN is likely.

Guadeloupe:

Victorin Lurel (PS-PPDG-Greens-MoDem-GUSR) 56.51% winning 31 seats (+2)
Blaise Aldo (UMP) 14.01% winning 4 seats (-8)
Éric Jalton (DVG-GUSR-PCG-UPLG) 12.40% winning 4 seats (+4)
Cédric Cornet (CDI) 6.96% winning 2 seats
Jean-Marie Nomertin (CO-LO) 2.82%
Jeanny Marc (GUSR-DVG) 2.82%
Octavie Losio (DVD) 2.07%
Alain Plaisir (EXG) 1.41%
Alain Lesueur (DVG) 0.99%

Turnout was 49.82%. Lurel (PS) becomes the only president re-elected by the first round, and re-elected by a very large margin as well. Lurel, who had become popular as a vocal opponent of the far-left syndicalist protest movement (LKP) in 2008-2009, had managed to gain the support of not only the PS, but also various joke outfits of the local left (such as GUSR, which split up 4 ways this time around), the Greens and also the ex-UMP deputy Gabrielle Louis-Carabin, an internal rival of the dominant wing of the UMP, led by Lucette Michaux-Chevry (defeated by Lurel in 2004) and now by her daughter, Marie-Luce Penchard, incumbent Minister for the Overseas Collectivities. Louis-Carabin was in fact second on Lurel’s list. Blaise Aldo, the UMP’s candidate, took a major thumping, highlighting the deepness of Sarkozy’s unpopularity in the Antillean territories of France. Supported by Penchard, who was number 2 on the list, as well as GUSR Senator Daniel Marsin (number 3 on the list), the thumping suffered by the UMP here touched all parts of the island: In Basse-Terre, Michaux-Chevry’s turf, Lurel has 61.3% against 17.4% for the UMP candidate. In Penchard’s hometown of Gourbeyre, Lurel has 51.6% against 21.3% for Aldo. Penchard’s days in government might be numbered, she hasn’t yielded results and she’s proved totally inept and incompetent (as well as being adept to political pork). Eric Jalton, who ran against Lurel from the left, trying to ride on the LKP wave (so he was more nationalist and syndicalist than Lurel) also suffered a major setback. Cédric Cornet, an unknown young no-name candidate proved the big surprise, riding on a wave of young support for his youth-oriented candidacy… unique.

Lastly, Jeanny Marc, a GUSR deputy failed in her attempt, and the two candidates of the pro-LKP far-left also did poorly.

Guyane:

Rodolphe Alexandre (UMP) 40.61%
Christiane Taubira (Walwari-PRG) 23.02%
Joëlle Prévôt-Madère (DVD) 7.41%
Gabriel Serville (PSG) 6.14%
José Gaillou (EE) 5.27%
Chantal Berthelot (DVG) 5.10%
Gil Horth (FDG) 4.80%
Roger Arel (DVD) 4.24%
Gilbert Fossé (DVD) 2.41%
Léon Jean-Baptiste-Édouard (PS) 1.00%

Turnout was 44.44%. Surprising results in Guyane, where the UMP is actually favoured to wrest control of the region from the left. With PSG (Guyanese Socialist Party, not the PS) incumbent Antoine Karam, in office since 1992, retiring, the left divided itself ahead of the elections. The PSG’s candidate was not able to impose himself, with only 6%, and neither could newly-elected deputy (since 2007) Chantal Berthelot could not do so either, with only 5.1%. Gil Horth, another candidate from the left (Democratic Forces of Guyane, FDG) did not emerge. Only long-time Cayenne deputy Christiane Taubira, presidential candidate for the PRG in 2002 and leader of the local Walwari party (the pro-independence MDES also supported her), could do so on the left. The original candidate of the UMP was the mayor of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, former Tourism Minister and former long-time deputy (defeated in 2007 by Berthelot) Leon Bertrand; but given that he’s spent some recent time in jail, they dumped him. Their new candidate was the DVG mayor of Cayenne – Rodolphe Alexandre who’s quite popular and moderate. Of course, there needs to be egomaniacal dissidents, including Roger Arel, on whose list Leon Bertrand is third. Alexandre was able to impose himself in the first round, and will face only Taubira in the runoff. The key to the runoff is the behaviour of dissident right-wingers such as Joëlle Prévôt-Madère, who I know nothing about. The UMP could win control of Guyane, it’s indeed quite likely. It is probably the result of a popular appreciation of Sarkozy, but also the good candidate in Alexandre and a desire for money from Paris.

Martinique:

Serge Letchimy (PPM) 40.05%
Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM) 32.16%
André Lesieur (UMP) 10.49%
Madeleine de Grandmaison (RDM-DVG) 6.85%
Pierre Samot (BPM) 3.97%
Ghislaine Joachim-Arnaud (CO-LO) 2.71%
Guy Lordinot (DVG) 1.89%
Max Orville (MoDem) 1.04%
Jean-Claude Granier (DVD) 0.84%

Turnout was 44.45%. There isn’t much appetite for independence, but Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM) has been the leader of the region since 1998, mainly due to divided weak opposition and a high personal vote. However, defeated in the status referendum earlier this year and weakened by his age, he is vulnerable, and he is only able to place second with 32.16%. True, he faced strong opposition from Serge Letchimy, the very popular PPM deputy-mayor of Fort-de-France, the strongest opponent he has faced. With the support of the local PS and a lot of the left, Letchimy has 40.05% in the first round already. However, his the runoff depends on the support of the RDM – a scission of the PPM formed by Senator/President of the CG Claude Lise in the runoff. Madeleine de Grandmaison, a leftie former MEP is the top candidate and the PPM candidate in 2004, won 6.85% and placed third. Pierre Samot of the BPM, a splinter of the old Communist Party on the island, with 3.97% does much worse than in 2004 (16.20%). The right, on the other hand, is dead (though it already was dead in 2004, pretty much).

La Réunion:

Paul Vergès (PCR-Alliance) 30.32%
Didier Robert (UMP) 26.42%
Michel Vergoz (PS) 13.06%
Jean-Paul Virapoullé (DVD) 6.73%
Nadia Ramassamy (DVD) 5.92%
André Thien-Ah-Koon (DVD) 5.38%
Eric Magamootoo (DVD) 4.99%
Vincent Defaud (EE) 4.93%
Aniel Boyer (Regionalist) 0.89%
Jean-Yves Payet (LO) 0.82%
Johny Arnachellum (DVD) 0.53%
Daniel Pouny (DVD) 0.10%

Turnout was 45.39%. Paul Vergès, Communist leader of the island since 1998, might face a tough road to re-election, surprisingly marred by the strong showing of UMP candidate Didier Robert. Yet, if the PS, which polled 15.9% in 2004 but only 13.1% last night, merges with the PCR, which it didn’t do in 2004, the left might breath a tad easier. All the quadrillion DVD candidates teamed up with the UMP are a majority on paper, but on paper overseas, that doesn’t mean anything (there seems to be something about insular politics in France that leads to divisions and internal civil wars on all sides… look at Corsica!). There is a UMP civil war between Didier Robert, deputy and Jean-Paul Virapoullé, Senator. Sarkozy managed a short-term alliance, but Robert broke from the alliance and Virapoullé is leading a dissident candidacy from Robert. Virapoullé has 6.73%, and can merge with a list as can André Thien Ah Koon, former deputy, and Nadia Ramassamy, already a DVD candidate in 2004.

The PS did not find a deal with the Alliance, meaning that Vergès, growing old, corrupt and unpopular faces a tough fight. Although he has the support of André Thien Ah Koon (DVD), he can count on little else: although Virapoullé did not merge with Robert, Virapoullé is a landowner who obviously hates the PCR and Vergès. Robert, with the support of Ramassamy and Magamootoo should be favoured to win.

To conclude, what to expect for the runoff? In metro France, some extremely bad results for the right, and only Alsace is really in play with the left and right tied there in polls. If the left wins that and Corsica, it can claim a “metropolitan” grand-slam. However, ironically, the right is favoured to pick up two overseas regions, including La Réunion, Sarkozy’s worst region in 2007! Proof of how local politics there tend to be, and how much being on the government’s side (or on the side of Paris) can be a positive selling-point which would still not make one metre as a campaign point in the rest of France. Nobody really covers overseas politics in France, but if the UMP wins Guyane and La Réunion as well as holding Alsace, count on them to announce that they come out with a net gain of 1

It’s a long analysis, but that’s what it takes. I’m sure I forgot many, many things and interesting facts, so I obviously welcome any comments, questions or additions. Furthemore, if anybody is interested in results for a particular party or department/commune in France, please point it out and I’ll provide a short analysis. I hope to continue throughout the week with news on the negotiations front on the left, as well as maps and other sociological analyses of the first round.

Liveblogging French Regionals 2010

WordPress doesn’t allow for liveblogging to be embedded to this site, so if you want to follow today’s liveblogging of the French regional elections – first round, you’ll need to click below:

WorldElections Regionals 2010: Click here

Liveblogging will start at around 19:15/19:30 Paris time, or 14:15/14:30 EST.

French Regionals 2010

Today is the big day in France, as you might know, with the first round of the regional elections in all 26 regions being held. I’ve been covering the elections on and off through the French Regionals 2010 page still available. Polls close at 18:00 in most places, but major cities such as the Greater Paris close at 20:00, and, as always, results will be released at that time.

The first round, as the popular word of wisdom, is the time to choose and the runoff is the time to eliminate. While it is unlikely that there will be any first-round elections today, the various results today will decide the nature of the runoff and give us an idea of what to expect in the runoff. There are separate keys in the first round for each party, so here is a brief summary of what each major party wants to get out of today:

Abstention hasn’t been discussed much, but interest in these elections have been low and neither left nor right have been able to convince voters. Abstention during the first round of voting six years ago had been 37.9% (and 34.3% in the runoff) which showed that the vote was a real vote for the left against the right and that it was a deep protest vote. In 1998, the record for abstention in regional elections had been set with 42% of voters not turning out. Today, pollsters indicate that abstention will hit a new record, between 45% and 49%. Interest in the elections picked up a bit in the very final moments of the campaign, but was only at 54% according to TNS-Sofres. Yet, some voters who are not interested will vote. What are the implications of low turnout? Nobody knows for sure, but since pollsters usually publish the results of those who were likely or certain to vote, huge surprises are not very likely (and surprises will come only from last-minute deciders and swingers on Friday and Saturday). Polls have shown the right’s electorate, bracing for a thumping, to be unmotivated.

Turnout at 12:00: 16.07% (+1.2% on 2009 Euros, -2.4% on 2004)

The UMP is in a very bad state ahead of next week’s runoffs, but it wants to come it in front in the first round. It believes that being the first party nationally (even if that doesn’t mean anything) even with 27-30% of the vote, could create a “new dynamic” for the runoff and provide a boost for the right. The PS has been closing the gap with the UMP, and polls now place it ahead of the UMP nationally. The UMP in the last days tried to mobilize its electorate with large meetings around Fillon and some rather “bizarre” visits by Sarkozy himself to key regions, although Sarkozy denies any electioneering. As said above, polls have shown the right’s electorate, bracing for a thumping, to be unmotivated.

The PS too wishes to come out in front of the UMP, because it would allow it to reclaim the position of uncontested leader of the French left (a title lost in 2009) but also give it an upper hand in talks with the Greens and Left Front ahead of the runoff, because Greens and Left, with good results on the horizon, will be very, very picky.

The Greens have been maintaining around 65-75% of their 2009 European electorate, a good result in an election where issues and dynamics are quite different. It is hovering between a low of 11-12% and a high of 14-15%, which would place it at best slightly under its 16.28% result in the European elections. Their major goal now is to place ahead of the PS in Alsace, but also to obtain a good result in key regions such as Île-de-France (with Duflot) and Rhône-Alpes, which would allow it to be demanding in the upcoming talks to merge with the PS lists. The Greenies hinted in the past they might not merge the PS in a few regions and fight the runoff, in regions such as Midi-Pyrénées (where there’s an old story of bad blood with PS incumbent Martin Malvy), Rhône-Alpes, Poitou-Charentes (where local Greens aren’t fond of Royal) or Bretagne.

The FN will try to break 10% of the votes and make as many runoffs as possible, hoping to make it in at least 8 to 12 regions. The party’s top regions are PACA, where Jean-Marie Le Pen himself is running, and Nord-Pas-de-Calais, his daughter’s new electoral base. If Marine Le Pen does well in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, it would give her better standing in the upcoming race to take over the party after her father’s retirement, and it could also orient the traditionally Mediterranean FN, with old Pieds-Noirs voters forming its base, more to the north with old miners and working-class voters forming the party’s new base. Marine has been campaigning a lot on populist themes to appeal to voters in the former coal mining centre of France. Here is my rating of the FN’s chances to make the runoff:

Certainty: PACA, NPDC, Picardie
Very likely: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Haute-Normandie
More likely than not: Franche-Comté, Lorraine, Rhône-Alpes
More unlikely than likely: Bourgogne, Centre, Languedoc-Roussillon
Low: Aquitaine, Corse (7% threshold), Île-de-France, Midi-Pyrénées, Basse-Normandie
Extremely low: Auvergne, Bretagne, Limousin, PDL, Poitou-Charentes

The Left Front has been on the upswing in the last week or so, with its voting intetions solidifying between 5 and 7%, as a result of the far-left (NPA)’s rapid decline. A 5-7% result would allow the Left Front’s candidate in almost all regions where it is running to break 5% and merge with the PS, and in some regions even break 10%. A result to watch will be in Picardie, where there is a civil war between the official Left Front candidate and a dissident Communist list led by long-time Somme deputy Maxime Gremetz, a hard-left orthodox within the PCF (also probably a quasi-Stalinist).

A special key, finally, is in Languedoc-Roussillon with Georges Frêche. The result to watch will be the battle between the anti-Frêche, with all 3 candidates of the anti-Frêche left, Mandroux (PS), Roumegas (Green) and Revol (FG) at the same level in polls between 9 and 11%. The best of the three will likely lead a united anti-Frêche left-wing list in the runoff. Raymond Couderc (UMP) should be hoping for a good result of the combined anti-Frêche left, a result which, if sustained in the runoff, could give him hope to sneak up the middle (or the right, in this case!) and have a shot at victory.

The MoDem is facing electoral annihilation tonight, with polls giving it only 4-5% of voting intentions, a result which would be an absolute low for a party which still won around 8% in the European elections! Francois Bayrou’s party will be even less relevant, something which should please the PS (it would render useless internal debates about an alliance with the centre) and the Left Front (which hates the MoDem and refuses any alliance with a PS allied to the MoDem). Its only hope to break 10% is in Aquitaine, where Bayrou’s long-time ally and fellow Bearnese deputy, Jean Lassalle could break 10%. A good result in Basse-Normandie and Bretagne is also likely, where the MoDem has well-implanted and popular candidates.

The far-left (NPA and LO) have come down from their good result in the European elections, especially the NPA whose platform is less and less popular and which has proven to be a very poorly organized party. The NPA seems to be hovering between 1.5% and 2.5% (against 4.9% in the European elections), and LO is between 1 and 2% (against 1.2% in the Euros). It will be interesting to look at the regions where the NPA has allied with Left Party (Basse-Normandie, Champagne-Ardenne, Bourgogne) against a PS-PCF list.

Exit polls will be given at 20:00 for the country as a whole plus 5 key regions: PACA, Poitou-Charentes, Alsace, Rhône-Alpes and Languedoc-Roussillon. An hour later, an exit poll in Île-de-France will be released. These polls are from TNS-Sofres (a rather poor pollster) and will be broadcast on France2, and also online on TNS-Sofres website and Le Monde.fr.

As in the European elections, I’ll be live-blogging these elections starting at around 19:30 Paris time, which means around 14:30 EST.

Iceland Referendum 2010

Iceland held its first referendum since independence in 1944 on Saturday, March 6. The referendum concerned a controversial topic in a country which nearly went bankrupt in 2008-2009, the repayment of foreign loans which were offered by the UK and the Netherlands to save the country’s main banks from sinking. The vote on the repayment of the €3.8 billion foreign loan was sparked by the President’s refusal to sign the so-called ‘Icesave’ bill. In Iceland, if the President does not sign the bill within 14 days, a referendum must be held. The President had been pressured by protests and petitions to not sign the bill.

Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir said she was disappointed by the President’s decision and recently announced that she would not vote, arguing that the vote was useless because the government had negotiated a better deal with foreign lenders. Furthermore, foreign countries and the government itself argue that Iceland will need to pay back its foreign loans, whatever the vote’s result.

As widely expected, the repayment was massively rejected, with good turnout at 62.70%.

No 93.20%
Yes 1.80%
Invalid or blank votes 5.02%

    Swiss Referendums 2010

    Swiss voters dealt with three questions today (March 7). Not as big a vote as the very mediatized minaret ban last year, but there were some interesting questions on the ballot.

    A popular vote on a pension reform scheme passed by Parliament was put for a vote, this pension reform includes cuts to state pensions over a long-term period. The NO vote, which had all the momentum on its side, opposed the pension cuts and was led by the left and notably the Social Democrats. The YES vote, supported by business and some agrarian interests had little hope in the current economic climate and against a strong opposition of getting this passed.

    No 72.7%
    Yes 27.3%

    Support for the NO was obviously widespread, with the highest support for the pension reforms scheme in wealthy areas (where the yes broke the low 40s) and some isolated (and usually German-speaking) rural areas. Opposition was very strong notably in the canton of the Jura, a Socialist area.

    The second vote was an initiative which would create a mandatory lawyer for animals in all cantons (currently, only Zurich has such a position) to prevent animal cruelty. This unique measure sparked some interest but sparked little support.

    No 70.5%
    Yes 29.5%

    Support broke 40% in the major urban centres of Switzerland. The last and least controversial proposal was an amendment to regularize human research.

    Yes 77.2%
    No 22.8%

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