Daily Archives: September 21, 2009

Yvelines’ 10th constituency (France) by-election

The first round of a legislative by-election in the Yvelines’ 10th constituency in France was held yesterday, September 20. The by-election was held after the original deputy for the constituency, Christine Boutin, who had resigned her seat in June 2007 to her suppléant (a supply, who replaces the deputy if he or she dies, resigns to join cabinet or is appointed to a government job) since French cabinet ministers can’t hold a seat in the legislature. Until the constitutional revision in 2008, Boutin could not have automatically re-gained the seat after leaving the cabinet in June 2009, but the new law removes the necessity for a by-election in such cases. However, Boutin chose not to take back her old seat, so her suppléant, Jean-Frédéric Poisson, will need to run for a term in his own right. It’s confusing, but it is French politics after all.

Constituencies of the Yvelines (source: geoelections.fr)

Constituencies of the Yvelines (source: geoelections.fr)

The constituency is a very affluent exurban constituency of Paris, taking up a vast area of the southwest of the department, including the affluent city of Rambouillet and it’s well-known forest, as well as Montfort-l’Amaury and the more middle-income (and more left-wing) city of Maurepas. Predictably, the constituency is a right-wing stronghold, holding the current constituency since 1988, though the constituency elected a Radical, Jacqueline Thome-Patenôtre for twenty years between 1958 and 1978. The seat was notably held by Christine Boutin, a staunch social conservative who was a member of the centre-right UDF before she was excluded for running in the 2002 presidential election (1.19%) independently of Bayrou, the candidate of the UDF. Her personal outfit, the Forum of Social Republicans (FRS) – now known as the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) is a affiliate member of the governing centre-right UMP. In 2007, she was elected with a bit more than 58% in the runoff, after narrowly failing to win by the first round.

In the European elections, the UMP and Greens both performed above their national average, with the UMP breaking 30% (32.66%) and the Greens breaking 20% (21.14%). The PS won barely 11.8%, concentrated mostly in the more working-class areas of the constituency, even though they were crushed there too by the Greens. The Greens are helped by the large number of professionals, but also the constituency’s growth from young people moving to exurbia to escape the high cost of living in Paris proper and its immediate suburbia. It remains, however, a right-wing area.

Last night’s results were as follows. Abstention was 77.24%.

Jean-Frédéric Poisson (UMP-PDC) 43.94% (-5.29%)
Anny Poursinoff (Green) 20.15% (+16.36%)

Françoise Pelissolo (PS) 12.44% (-9.02%)
Georges Mougeot (DVG-MoDem) 9.58% (+9.58%)
Vincent Liechti (PCF) 4.72% (+2.78%)
Philippe Chevrier (FN) 4.03% (+0.47%)
Myriam Baeckeroot (Parti de la France) 3.08% (+3.08%)
Maxime Rouquet (Pirate Party) 2.06% (+2.06%)

Right and Far-Right 51.05% vs. Left and Pirates 48.95%

A very poor result for both the UMP and PS. The UMP is left sidelined, with its only ‘likely’ reserves lying on the far-right, which are unreliable and could very well split for the left in a runoff, although it’s unlikely. The PS was definitely hurt by the candidacy of Georges Mougeot, the Mayor of Maurepas, and they were trounced into a very poor third place, behind the Greens, who had a well-known local candidate. The Greens also stand an outside chance of winning, if the left maximizes its vote in addition to extra turnout or unlikely far-right voters. Such a victory would also be the first Green victory in legislative election won with opposition from an official Socialist candidate – all current Green deputies were elected with no Socialist opposition, as were all Greens elected in 1997 and 2002.

Vorarlberg (Austria) 2009

Austria’s smallest and westernmost state, on the border with Switzerland and tiny Liechtenstein, high in the Alps, held an election to its 36-seat Landtag. The small state is a stronghold of the centre-right ÖVP, which has an absolute majority of seats in the legislature (and has dropped below 50% once, in 1999, since 1945) though it governs in coalition with the far-right FPÖ. The densely populated state is very wealthy, with a flourishing economy (even the manufacturing industry is right-wing, due to a right-wing unionization tradition) and a high standard of living. It is also famous for its numerous ski resorts in the Alps, some of which are very affluent.

ÖVP 50.82% (-4.1%) winning 20 seats (-1)
FPÖ 25.25% (+12.31%) winning 9 seats (+4)
Greens 10.37% (+0.2%) winning 4 seats (±0)
SPÖ 10.06% (-6.81%) winning 3 seats (-3)
Gsiberger 1.74% (+1.74%) winning 0 seats (±0)
BZÖ 1.21% (+1.21%) winning 0 seats (±0)
Others 0.56% (+0.56%) winning 0 seats (±0)

The SPÖ has won its worst result ever, and came in a pitiful fourth behind the FPÖ (which still performed poorly vis-a-vis it’s result in 1999 and the last federal election) and also the Greenies, who are strong in this mountain valley state with a surprising high number of foreigners.

A map would be rather boring since the ÖVP won every city, polling over 50% in most of the mountainous eastern areas, but polling below 50% in the west of the state, which includes the state capital of Bregenz, also the left’s best city. The west also includes a very densely populated coastal plain, the Rhine Valley, were a vast majority of the state lives.