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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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%.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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).


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.


Posted on March 28, 2010, in DOM-TOM, France, Regional and local elections. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. This is an excellent review of the 2010 regional elections. I wish only the concerned local press had been as thorough and lucid as this blog.

  2. I wonder if there are any available figures or tables of the results of the 2010 regional elections showing the figures at the canton level. Those would be very interesting to examine.

  3. Thank you for your article.

    I just would like to react to your point on Jean-Paul Huchon, which you believe of being able to rally voters from the right. As evidence, you explain that in Nicolas Dupont-Aignan stronghold of Yerres, the left increased greatly its scores…

    But in fact, I believe it is more Nicolas Dupont-Aignan that is able to rally voters from the left! Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is the best ever reelected mayor (of a large city, villages do not count!). On the first turn, I think voters decided to support their local champion, but on the second returned to their political membership.

  4. Congratulations, it’s once again very interesting.

  5. A good overview of the results. There was apparently a simulation done internally by the UMP which projected that the UMP would be reduced to a rump of less than 60 Deputies if these results carried over to the next general election.

    I find this unlikely myself-2004 regionales vs 2007 presidentielle demonstrated that higher order elections tend to concentrate minds, and wile Sarkozy is in many ways his own worst enemy, he is still a formidable campaigner.

  1. Pingback: Election Preview: France 2012 « World Elections

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