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.

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Posted on March 16, 2010, in France, Regional and local elections. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thank you Gael. I’m writing the details of the Wikipedia article, so this party listing is great, and it confirms some of my decisions (e.g. Philippe Leclercq is not a real Front de Gauche candidate).

  2. Amazing work, Gaël, really.
    The region-by-region analysis was very interesting, and I learnt many things with that. Also, funny to see that most of the interesting runoffs will be in overseas regions, which medias never seem to take in consideration.
    I however have to disagree when you say that the UMP didn’t “feed” the FN, but I’m waiting for a more precise analysis. ;)
    Also, I hope you’ll give us some more maps.

  3. If only more people could read about this!

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