Yvelines’ 12th constituency (France) by-election
The first round of a legislative by-election in the Yvelines’ 12th constituency in France was held on Sunday, October 11. The by-election was held after the original deputy for the constituency, Jacques Masdeu-Arus (UMP) was removed from office after being found guilty of corruption. He was notably declared ineligible for any elected office in a period of ten years (most of the time it’s a year or two max, so 10 would mean this guy is a major crook). This conviction came alongside the convicition for corruption of Pierre Bédier (UMP), the former President of the General Council and a former low-key cabinet member.
The constituency is a largely middle and upper class suburban constituency of Paris, based around the relatively affluent city of Poissy. It also includes extremely affluent municipalities south-east of Poissy while the southern end of the long constituency is more middle-class. The constituency is solidly right-wing, and has been held since its creation in 1988 by Jacques Masdeu-Arus. Sarkozy won 55% of the vote in the runoff here, but Masdeu-Arus, whose judicial problems are nothing new, won only 52.3% in the 2007 runoff against Eddie Aït, the Left Radical candidate endorsed by the PS. In the European elections, the UMP won 33.3% against 19.3% for the Greens and 13.2% for the PS. This result is in line with other similar middle-to-upper-class constituencies in the region and France in general.
The UMP and the Greenies both went the star candidate route, with the UMP nominating former judoka David Douillet, a close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy. The Greenies, certainly under the influence of the mediatic shock caused by their second-place showing, ahead of the PS, in the Yvelines-10 by-elections a few weeks ago chose Alain Lipietz, a high-profile Greenie (although not locally implanted) and former MEP. Lipietz was tapped as the Greenie’s candidate in the 2002 presidential election (but withdrew in wake of controversy regarding comments he made about political amnesty for Corsican nationalists) and is a noted member of the party’s left-wing and Eurosceptic wing. The candidate of the Left Front (PCF-PG) was François Delapierre, a protege of the Left Party (PG)’s leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Of the major candidates, only the Socialist candidate, Frédérik Bernard, Mayor of Poissy had strong roots in the constituency.
Turnout was only 30.13%. The result of Bernard (PS) is compared to Aït (PRG) in 2007. Aït was practically the PS candidate, just under a different party etiquette. The PG’s result is compared to the result of the PCF in 2007, and for comparison sake the result of the far-right in 2009 (represented by the PdF) is compared to the FN’s result in 2007, but the FN didn’t run a candidate in 2009.
David Douillet (UMP) 44.19% (+2.28%)
Frédérik Bernard (PS) 21.87% (+0.31%)
Alain Lipietz (Greens) 14.82% (+11.37%)
Richard Bertrand (MoDem) 7.75% (-4.88%)
François Delapierre (PG-PCF) 4.87% (+2.86%)
Christophe Le Hot (Parti de la France) 3.21% (-0.6%)
Philippe Gautry (DVD) 2.04%
Bernard Huet (DVD) 1.25% (-0.47%)
Right and Far-Right 50.69% vs. Left and MoDem 49.31%
David Douillet benefited from his celebrity status but also the fact that he isn’t a crook like Masdeu-Arus. While Lipietz’s 14.8% would undoubtedly be an excellent result for the Greenies in a normal year, it’s a severe disappointment considering his celebrity (although he’s not from the area), the Greenie result in the Euros and their recent by-election success in Yvelines-10, and the alleged continuation of the Greenies’ June 2009 success to this day. The Greenies were allegedly hoping for 22% in the constituency, but the Greenies in France tend to always project themselves beyond their best results, thinking the sky is the limit for them. They’ve also been assuming their result in a low-turnout European proportional election prone to protest voting and against a weak PS means that they can definitely win anything they want in any type of election, and they think that this allows them to run anybody they want, even carpetbaggers or “old” member of the Green Party.
The MoDem’s result are a deception for the party, but in line with the party’s dwindling electoral successes nationally. Their votes should probably flow in large part to the left next Sunday, but there may been a small share transfering to Douillet as well (or abstaining). In addition, the right and far-right has a majority of votes which makes them the favourites to win, and most tend to think that Douillet will win something like 52% on Sunday. While such a result will undoubtedly be flaunted by the stupid media as ‘great success’, it’s a poor result when considering the history of the constituency. The 52.3% won by Masdeu-Arus in the 2007 runoff is below Sarkozy’s 55% in May 2007, and also below the right’s result in 1997 (54%).