Skip to comments.FRENCH ELECTION UPFDATE :: SARKOZY PARTY (UMP) SET FOR LANDSLIDE
Posted on 06/10/2007 7:39:27 PM PDT by Cincinna
Projections after the first round of France's parliamentary elections suggest President Nicolas Sarkozy's party is heading for a landslide. Although most seats will not be decided until next week's second round, polling firms said Mr Sarkozy's UMP party would win at least 383 of the 577 seats.
Analysts say a big majority would allow the new president to press ahead with his sweeping economic reforms.
Turnout is reported to have reached a record low, at around 61%.
That contrasted with a turnout of 84% at the presidential election a month ago.
"Many people seem less interested in the parliamentary elections because they think Sarkozy will win a large majority anyway," Mikhael Perez, a 48-year-old voter from Paris told Reuters news agency.
With a second round of voting to follow next week, the size of the UMP's likely majority was still uncertain.
Polling companies said the party could win anything between 383 and 501 of parliament's 577 seats, compared to its 359 at present.
Mr Sarkozy's Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, said: "Today you have chosen to give the presidential majority a beautiful lead... Tonight we have gone some of the way.
"But everything will really be decided next Sunday. This is why all the French need to go to vote. Change is on the march."
The Socialists, whose presidential candidate Segolene Royal lost to Mr Sarkozy, appeared set for another big disappointment.
It was predicted they could lose some of their 149 seats - and possibly as many as half of them.
Ms Royal urged left-wing voters to show up next weekend. "The republic needs you, because the republic needs a great force of the left to watch over things," she pleaded.
If candidates do not win more than 50% of the vote, with at least a 25% turnout, the constituency must vote again on 17 June.
Most will go to a second round. Any candidate with a first-round score of 12.5% or more of the registered vote is eligible to stand.
France has not returned the same government to power since 1978 - but this time the pattern looks set to change, the BBC's Emma Jane Kirby in Paris says.
France's "blue wave" means the president will get exactly what he wants - strong backing with which to implement his ambitious programme of economic reforms, our correspondent adds.
The parties of the left - including the communists, who look set for their worst result in memory - have called for a big turnout next week, warning voters not to give absolute power to Nicolas Sarkozy.
"He is a sort of hyper-president," said Socialist Pierre Moscovici, a member of the European parliament.
Mr Sarkozy has said he will hold a special session of parliament in July to initiate his first set of political reforms, which include tougher immigration rules and more freedom for universities.
A new finance bill will mean that overtime earnings are no longer taxed, inheritance tax is abolished for most people and overall individual taxation is capped at 50%.
The final vote will be next Sunday, June 17th.
FReepmail me if you want to be on the French Election Ping List.
From BOZ at Politique Blog:
One of the most interesting things to come out of today’s vote are the wide ranging projections that different media sources are displaying for the final results next weekend. The top image from Le Figaro, which claims to be based on numbers from TNS-Sofres, predicts the UMP and allies with a win of 405-445 seats next week. Le Monde, which basis it’s projection from CSA, Sofres, and Ipsos, projects 381-444 seats for the UMP and allies. This breaks down to an average win of 425 for Le Figaro and 412.5 for Le Monde. Even better are the projections for the Socialist Party. The average number of seats the Socialists should win according to Le Monde is 145, but for Le Figaro only 120! To be fair, projections vary widely. CSA alone is predicting the UMP and allies win 460-495 seats, an interval that is entirely above the one chosen by Le Figaro.
But if these chosen figures have a slight political bias based on the media outlet, it only goes to show the relative unimportance of the other political parties. Both papers show MoDem winning 1-4, the Greens winning 3 or less, and the Communists winning 6-12. Much will likely depend on if the UMP can get a big enough turnout; because their absolute majority is assured, it is more likely that a UMP voter would figure his vote isn’t necessary than a Socialist or MoDem voter. Whatever happens, I wouldn’t want to be in the Royal-Hollande house tonight...
From the Financial Times:
Small parties crushed in French elections
By Ben Hall and Pan Kwan Yuk in Paris
June 10 2007
The historically low turnout in Sundays first round of Frances parliamentary elections looks set to hasten the demise of the smaller parties in the National Assembly, leaving a divided Socialist party to form the only real opposition to the dominant centre-right grouping of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Polling agencies last night estimated turnout at 60-63 per cent, the lowest for a first round of legislative elections for 40 years and more than 20 points down on the second round of last months momentous presidential contest.
French voters appear weary of politics after Mays dramatic race to the Elysée and following widespread predictions that the parliamentary elections were a foregone conclusion.
A sense that the parliamentary elections were simply the third round of the preceding presidential contest may help to explain why the centre-right UMP and its allies and the Socialists both did much better than expected, with 46 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, according to Ipsos estimates.
The poor performance of the smaller parties, accentuated by the two-round, first-past-the-post constituency system, means the National Assembly is set to become an essentially bipolar chamber, with an opposition centre-left confronting a governing centre-right that holds a crushing majority.
François Bayrou, the centrist who claimed to have broken the mould of French politics after scoring 18.6 per cent in the first round of the presidential election, has suffered a spectacular collapse in his fortunes.
His Mouvement Démocrate party won only 7 per cent of the vote, according to estimates by Ipsos, meaning it will have only a handful of deputies, far short of the 20 required to register as a formal parliamentary grouping.
The communists also look set to disappear from parliament as a formal group, after winning only 3 per cent together with the other far-left parties, according to Ipsos.
Jean-Marie Le Pens National Front also continued its sharp decline, winning 5 per cent compared with 11 per cent in 2002, and is once again likely to be left without parliamentary representation.
Despite the stronger-than-expected results for the two main parties, the low turnout will reduce the number of outright victories in the first round. To be elected in the first round, a candidate needs to win not only 50 per cent of the votes cast but also at least 25 per cent of the eligible electorate, a threshold that is harder to reach if turnout is low.
In the vast majority of constituencies, there will be a second round of voting on June 17, a run-off between all those candidates who secured the votes of at least 12.5 per cent of the electorate.
The results are likely to intensify the debate about whether France should adopt an element of proportional representation for its parliamentary elections. Mr Sarkozy has said he is open to the idea.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
Looking good. And with all this happening in France, I suspect that the same thing may happen next time there is an election in Germany. Angela Merkel entered office with a minority government, and nobody expected her to last very long. But she seems to be doing pretty well.
The election is in the bag, Sarkozy will have his super majority and France will be altered, the only possible dark cloud is if the Socialists decide to have a series of general strikes in a sort of tantrum of wasted effort.
Good News for those who have a mind for France, moribound economy and perhaps a bit to stultified a economic situation but that could change rapidly.
Has anyone broken out the good champagne yet?
from the IHT:
French overwhelmingly favor president’s camp in parliamentary vote
By Katrin Bennhold
Sunday, June 10, 2007
PARIS: President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right camp was on course to win a landslide victory in Parliament Sunday after the first round of France’s legislative elections, cementing his power to implement reforms in Europe’s third-largest economy.
The Union for a Popular Movement obtained 41.3 percent of the vote, according to preliminary estimations by the CSA polling institute, a score that is expected to give the party between 360 and 470 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly after the second round of voting June 17, three pollsters said.
The main opposition camp, the Socialist Party, received an estimated 27.2 percent, putting it on course for 60 to 170 seats, pollsters said, reinforcing the sense of disarray that has reigned on the left ever since Ségolène Royal lost to Sarkozy in last month’s presidential race.
Sarkozy’s party, which has set itself the unofficial goal of winning 400 seats, has been widely expected to obtain a comfortable majority, but the preliminary results Sunday exceeded even optimistic forecasts.
It is the first time since 1978 that an outgoing parliamentary majority is re-elected, a result favored by a recent change to synchronize the presidential and parliamentary terms. But with the Gaullist camp set to expand its dominance in Parliament from the current 359 seats, commentators said the result was also a sign that French voters trusted Sarkozy to jolt their country out of a collective sense of decline.
Minutes after the first exit polls, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, head of Sarkozy’s Popular Movement, hailed the result as a strong endorsement of the president and his platform.
“It is a success,” Raffarin said in an election broadcast on the TF1 network. “The drive Nicolas Sarkozy gave to French politics was confirmed by the French people. They have confirmed their choice en masse.”
Sarkozy has been eager to maximize his mandate, reminding voters repeatedly in recent weeks of his intention to implement an ambitious agenda of change. Eleven ministers of his 15 are running in the election, including Prime Minister François Fillon, in a bid to maximize their legitimacy. None of them will actually take up their seats, but if any of them were to lose, they would be asked to leave the government. On Sunday night only one of them, the minister of sustainable development, Alain Juppé, faced a risk of defeat.
If the presidential campaign was a roller coaster of suspense and passion that culminated in a turnout of 84 percent on May 6, the parliamentary election has failed to spark nearly as much interest among voters. On Sunday, only 60.4 percent turned out to cast their ballots, according to an early estimate by CSA. That would be record low under France’s fifth Republic and an illustration that this election has come to be seen as a mere vote of confirmation or, as newspapers here described it, the “third round” of the presidential election.
A victory of the Gaullist movement has been so widely predicted that the opposition has merely urged voters not to hand the new head of state too large a majority.
The Socialists sought to put on a brace face Sunday night.
“There is a second round in which the results can be improved,” said Laurent Fabius, a senior member of the party.
If the Socialist Party suffered in the first round of the legislative ballot, smaller parties received an even harder blow. A new centrist party, led by François Bayrou, who finished third in the presidential election, came nowhere close to the nearly 19 percent its leader received last month, getting only an estimated 7.4 percent of the national vote. The centrists, like their Green counterparts, have little hope of winning the 20 seats necessary to constitute a parliamentary group and get access to the financing that comes with that status. The Communist Party risks losing its parliamentary group, while the far-right Front National, who have no lawmakers in the outgoing assembly, are not expected to win any this time either.
A majority in Parliament makes Sarkozy the most powerful leader in Europe and one of the most powerful presidents in France’s recent history. Elected for five years, the French head of state is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and has the right to dissolve the National Assembly.
To be sure, a parliamentary majority is no guarantee for swift change. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who 10 years ago won a landslide on a platform of pragmatism and personal drive not unlike that of Sarkozy’s, shied away from overhauling Britain’s health and education systems in his first term. In former President Jacques Chirac’s second term, the center-right controlled nearly two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly. But the government was deeply unpopular and unable to break a sense of stagnation permeating the country’s elite, particularly after the French rejected one of Chirac’s pet projects, a European constitution, in May 2005. Last year, lawmakers swiftly abrogated legislation creating a more flexible work contract for young people after two months of street protests.
In his first four weeks in office, Sarkozy has signaled that he is determined to use his powers to implement his election promises and, unlike his predecessors, get personally involved in the process.
“I want to be a president who governs,” he vowed after his election. Two bills - one proposing a number of tax cuts and the other tightening sentencing rules for repeat offenders - are ready to be submitted to the newly elected assembly in an extraordinary session over the summer.
If these measures are the most popular in Sarkozy’s reform package, a more revolutionary catalogue of measures, all at one point tried and abandoned by previous administrations under pressure from labor unions, are to follow. Over the next year, the new president plans to make it easier to hire and fire; allow universities to select students and charge fees; and overhaul generous public sector pensions.
According to commentators, the larger the parliamentary majority, the slimmer the legitimacy for unions to paralyze the country with strikes and demonstrations.
“Strong parliamentary backing is a decisive factor in transforming the country,” an editorial in the right-leaning Figaro said in its weekend edition. “Given what awaits him, Sarkozy will need it.”
Good news out of France.
Blue Wave!! Is that blue for conservative? If so, the frogs at least have their colors right - red for commies and socialists.
In the US, the network TV media, of course, got to assign colors. Fox News Channel would have assigned to appropriate color to the SocioPhschocrats.
That's always good news!
How are elections done in France? Are they district elections like in the US? Parliamentary party lists? Some combination of the two? I would guess the first because the second wouldn’t require run-off elections next week.
Great news! More victories!
A new finance bill will mean that overtime earnings are no longer taxed, inheritance tax is abolished for most people and overall individual taxation is capped at 50%.
What a nice idea. Anyone in Washington, or on the campaign trail, taking note?
...but will anything actually change in France? No? Didn’t think so....
Dear God, imagine how bad it has gotten to reach that point.
Only a few decades ago, U.S. marginal income tax rates were much higher than that.
Good news bump.
A new centrist party, led by FranÃ§ois Bayrou, who finished third in the presidential election, came nowhere close to the nearly 19 percent its leader received last month, getting only an estimated 7.4 percent of the national vote. The centrists, like their Green counterparts, have little hope of winning the 20 seats necessary to constitute a parliamentary group and get access to the financing that comes with that status. The Communist Party risks losing its parliamentary group, while the far-right Front National, who have no lawmakers in the outgoing assembly, are not expected to win any this time either.[singing] Aloe-ha-oh-way, aloe-ha-oh-way...
Thanks for the pings. This is wonderful news for France, and I couldn’t be happier.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Sarko has succeeded in eliminating the far right and far left extremes in France. The Communists (PCF) is on life support, and the National Front (FN) of Jean-Marie le Pen has been wiped out, not even winning 5% of the vote.
The Socialist Party (PS)is polling at its lowest in 50 years. Only one depue was elected in the 1st round.
When they call Sarko the most brilliant and gifted politician on the scene today, they are underestimating him.
Analysis from our friends at Gallia Watch Blog :
A Blue Wave
As of 2:00 a.m. Paris time there is little doubt that Nicolas Sarkozy will win a crushing parliamentary majority next Sunday in the second round of legislative elections. Today’s first round resulted in an undeniable victory for UMP candidates throughout France.
(...) The UMP party obtained 39.54% of the votes and along with its affiliated parties ought to win between 383 and 501 seats out of 577 in the National Assembly after the second round next June 17.
Note: The figure of 577 is the number of seats at stake, not the total number of seats in the Assembly.
The Socialist Party, the main opposition with 24.73% of the votes, should, along with its affiliated parties, win between 60 and 170 seats. The incumbent deputies totaled 359 from UMP and 149 socialists.
One hundred five deputies were elected or re-elected on the first round, among them one leftist.
Note: This means that they obtained more than 50% of the vote in the first round, so they are spared a second round.
If the second round confirms the trend, Mr. Sarkozy will have a free hand in legislating the reforms he promised the French people.
The new National Assembly, elected for 5 years, like the president, will be called into a special session on June 26 to begin examining several key texts, notably on fiscal issues and security. (...)
Sunday’s voting was marked by a record number of abstentions, almost 40%, whereas the presidential election had aroused great interest.
The Minister of the Economy, Jean-Louis Borloo, easily re-elected in the first round, as was Prime Minister François Fillon, said he felt that the French people, including those on the Left, wanted to give the new government its chance to work harmoniously with Parliament.
The big victory of the Right was expected: all the polls had predicted a “blue wave”, the color of UMP.
For Mr. Sarkozy, 52, who has been enjoying a “state of grace” in the opinion of the public since May 6, when he defeated Ségolène Royal with 53% of the votes, it is already a new personal victory since he had been deeply involved in the battle.
Analysts say that the UMP victory will be total if it goes beyond the figure of 400 seats in the Assembly.
Besides the Socialist Party, the UMP party and the new “New Center” party that rallied to Sarkozy, the other political groups seem likely to be crushed in the second round. Not one of them is expected to attain the threshold of 20 deputies, the number needed to have an autonomous group in the Assembly.
Note: The “New Center” refers to those members of François Bayrou’s old UDF party who rallied to Sarkozy. Bayrou himself formed the so-called “Modem” (Democratic Movement) but not all of his former colleagues went along with him. Instead some rallied to UMP, calling themselves the New Center.
This can get confusing and frustrating. The French form and re-form parties at will, and they keep giving them names that all sound alike. It’s a wonder the voters have any idea who or what they’re voting for!
The French system of voting assures an over-representation on the national level of the victorious party. (...)
Interesting take. Fourth Republic 1946-1958. France withdraws from Indochina, Morocco and Tunesia by '56. DeGaul elected premier 1958 and new constitution founds Fifth Republic.
There was an article in the WashTimes today..a left pol is com plaoning that “France can’t have democracy with only 100 or so leftish legislators”..Gee..ya think, dude??
Interesting, educational. Thanks for the ping. Thanks to all contributors
there is little doubt that Nicolas Sarkozy will win a crushing parliamentary majority next Sunday in the second round of legislative elections. Todayâs first round resulted in an undeniable victory for UMP candidates throughout France. (...) The UMP party obtained 39.54% of the votesOf course, a crushing majority only works out if it sticks together, and in this case, if its supporters show up for the runoff.
Sure, but not “overall individual taxation.”
But I see your point.
“How are elections done in France? Are they district elections like in the US? Parliamentary party lists? Some combination of the two? I would guess the first because the second wouldnt require run-off elections next week.”
They have election districts and runoffs if no candidate gets a majority. Obviously parties are stronger than in the US, and multiple parties mean a lot of runoffs.
To give you an idea of just how much the Right in France has evolved, this historic comparison from IPSOS POLLS http://www.ipsos.fr/legislatives-2007/ is an eye opener.
In 1997, the PC (Communist Party) held 36 seats!
Sarko's party, UMP, was formerly called RPR.
Sanity seems to be a force that’s growing stronger day by day in France.
Thanks for posting, Cincinna!
Cincinna, regarding the Communists in the French Assembly, do you happen to know what specific districts they represented (and where they’re currently leading ?). Or are these proportional reps not running from specific districts ?
Can I start buying French wine again?
- After years of decline in sales, French wine exports are presently on the rise again.
I believe the success of Sarkozy will further improve the situation for French wine exporters.
Kinda nifty system. First elect the president. Once you know the direction of the executive, including cabinet, elect the legislature.
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