Daily Archives: October 3, 2009

Yvelines’ 10th constituency (France) by-election 2009

The runoff in the legislative by-election in the Yvelines’ 10th constituency in France was held on Sunday, September 27. I posted a tad about the constituency and the first round results here. The runoff opposed Jean-Frédéric Poisson, the candidate of the UMP and, surprisingly, the Green candidate Anny Poursinoff who had beaten the PS’ candidate in a major shock in the first round. The constituency is an affluent right-wing constituency in suburban/exurban Paris, and has never been won by the left in its current borders (the left won 45% in 1997, when it won a majority nationally). The left did win this constituency’s predecessor in the 1981 uber-landslide.

The UMP, with 44% in the first round was left very much isolated with reserves only likely on the far-right – the overall left-right result stood 51-49 in favour of the right. Which is a very bad result for the right, of course, even though Le Figaro doesn’t think that way.

The result was a real nail-bitter. After recount, Poisson won by 5 votes! However, abstention was 74%.

Jean-Frédéric Poisson (UMP-PDC) 12,804 (50.01%)
Anny Poursinoff (Green) 12,799 (49.99%)

Firstly, on the by-election results themselves, it’s definitely an extremely poor result for the UMP, given that it’s much lower than the right’s result here in 1997, and the fact that the last time the left wound ’round these parts was in 1981. If a seat that went 58.2% for the UMP in 2007 is now 50% for the right, you’ve got a hell lot of vulnerable right seats. This by-election reflects very well the UMP’s “runoff problem” – that it has very, very few potential vote reserves unlike the candidate of the left who gets through. This is because the UMP has, for better or worse, federated almost all of the voters who approve of the current government and those who support the mainstream right/Presidential Majority in one large outfit. Meanwhile, the voters of the mainstream left and the opposition to Nicolas Sarkozy remains dispersed between the PS, Greens, PCF, MoDem and far-left. Now, there’s a reason why Sarkozy is anxious to get ‘territorial reform’, including one-round regional (and maybe legislative, ugh!) elections in the future…

Secondly, however, is this by-election simply the result of low turnout (25%) on the right? If so, why didn’t the right’s voters, usually older and more likely to vote, not turn out? Or is it this close because of the local popularity of Anny Poursinoff? Or does a Green candidate here carry to a wider base than a Socialist might, giving a result like this?