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French regional election


JP Raud Dugal
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The first rounf of French regional election delivered some surprises tonight.

Here are the results (in french but not difficult to understand):

http://regionales2004.france3.fr/825719-fr.php

Some comments:

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/sequence/0,2-3486,1-0,0.html

Th right wing dominant party , the UMP (Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle, Chirac's party) is in serious trouble. Abstention has lowered for the first time since 1986. This is partly due to the anti-civil servant policy led by the government.

The PS (Parti Socialiste) together with the Green party and in much of the regions with the Communist Party are waking up after a two-years lethargy due to the April 21st 2002 defeat and the rising of the extrem left and the National Front.

15 to 16 regions can be won next week.

Three points has to be developed:

- the extrem left party (LCR, Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire together with LO Lutte Ouvriere) which was at nearly 10% in 2002 decreased to 5%. People had surely prefered to vote for the reformists to make a counter attack against the government. (we call that 'vote utile')

- The government paid for brutal reforms: retirement, and sooner (but mainly already done) social security...and its behaviour against civil servants, perhaps also because of the heat wave (nothing has been done since except that a bank holiday has been removed for civil servants...to pay for the retirement houses.

- We have a National Front at nearly 16-17%.... :ph34r: it's THE bad news of tonight's election. In PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte-d-Azur) they reach 25%...And here I don't know how to comment that....fear is the enemy of democracy. Fear of the immigrants but also fear of the globalised world we are living in.

We will see the results next week!

Edited by JP Raud Dugal
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Sorry, I forgot the english links...

What I read in the BBC and in the Guardian is upon the responsability of PM Raffarin. But, In France, it is clear that he is not the head of the State.

Chirac is deciding for everything. Raffarin is a useful 'fusible'. (I just read after this writing an editorail from Liberation and in a paper named 'Bye Bye Raffarin' Serge July wrote: 'L'ampleur du vote-sanction aura besoin, au lendemain du deuxième tour, d'un fusible pour que le chef de l'Etat donne l'impression d'avoir entendu le message des électeurs.' )

Have a look to this cover

But, whatever are the results next sunday, we knew that there will be a reshuffle few days after the second round: the first 'fusibles' are in the governement. Who could replace Raffarin? No way for Chirac's rival Nicolas Sarkozy, the Home secretary,...Chirac may want to have a third term in 2007... Chirac's lieutenant, Alain Juppé was condemned in a corruption scandal (in which our president cannot be judged because he is...president...). Very difficult to know...

Perhaps we will have a surprise...so is the franch political life...

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Results sound like another grand slam : the left (union between socialist party, green party and communist party) rules on 20 regions, the right keeps only Alsace. I don't know results for Corse and regions beyond the seas.

20040328.OBS8824.jpg

pink = left

blue = right

white = unknown results

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/commo...55E1702,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/stor...3913813,00.html

http://www.forbes.com/home_europe/newswire...rtr1314560.html

More comments tomorrow.

Laurent Gayme

Edited by Laurent Gayme
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May I say that it is a huge clap for the government!

Its policy concerning the civil servants (not only that) has been sacked.

Chirac is half-naked :angry: (sorry for the expression) and has no choice but to change a lot of things. A reshuffle will not be enough to forget some policies which have been made these last two years.

You can find some comments here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3575779.stm

What strike me the most is that the Left wing without a real program won with such a huge advantage. One very good thing is that the National Front is decreasing.

If I dare compare with the English case, this issue is resulting from a lack of conversation between the government and its people. One can explain the actual difficulties of T. Blair today upon the war.

Jean Philippe

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(1) What was the turnout in the election?

(2) Was it more an anti-Chirac vote or a pro-socialist vote?

(3) Are these public sector reforms necessary? If so, are the socialists advocating their own public sector reforms?

(4) Were the socialists helped by supporting the proposals to ban religious symbols in French state schools?

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(1) What was the turnout in the election?

first round : 62,12 %

second round : 65,81 %. Left 50,37% / Right 36,98% / Far-right 12,56%

Abstention is decreasing.

We have a new Prime Minister : Raffarin... :P I guess Chirac is afraid of the popular and successfull Home minister Sarkozy...

New government tomorrow.

For socialists, nomination of Raffarin is "an error", "an offence", "putting two fingers up at french people".

(2) Was it more an anti-Chirac vote or a pro-socialist vote?

It was certainly an anti-Raffarin's policy vote : among 19 ministers, only 4 were elected. Such a huge victory is a big surprise for socialists, who don't have any political or economic programm, since Jospin's crash.

(3) Are these public sector reforms necessary? If so, are the socialists advocating their own public sector reforms?

Yes for the first question, difficult answer for the second.

The questions of reforms is discussed in France. Many experts,politicians, trade-unionists, managers and citizens agree with the necessity of reforms. The key question is : who will pay, who will loose social advantages ? Many look towards state employees, accused to be privileged persons : the main idea is to reform (to destroy ?) Welfare state. Managers don't want to pay (international competitivity, struggle against unemployment. The left of the socialists and the far-left want the managers to pay. Reform of pensions (retirement) was payed by workers (Balladur government during the 90') and state employees (Raffarin) : smaller pensions, more years to work and to pay suscribtions (40 today).

Reform doesn't mean regression.

Raffarin said : no money for artists, teachers, scientific research. But he gave money for restaurateurs, for example. And unemployment increases, with a lot of delocalizations.

(4) Were the socialists helped by supporting the proposals to ban religious symbols in French state schools?

I don't think so. A majority of left and right agreed with banning.

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Such a huge victory is a big surprise for socialists, who don't have any political or economic programm, since Jospin's crash.

Thank you. You delivered interesting information to all of us! Something to brood over ……in the time of Madrid bombing, Kerry versus Bush election campaign, Prodi trying to take over from Berlusconi with promises to withdraw the troops ….

What a challenging time!

And the Socialist party winning without any program or strategy at all?! Winning just because they are what they are! The Socialist party!

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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I add some things to Laurent's answer

Was it more an anti-Chirac vote or a pro-socialist vote?

Laurent is right when he said that it was an anti-Raffarin's vote. But, this vote is also against Chirac because he was elected with 19% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election (82 % second round...the vast majority of the left wing people voted for him because of Le Pen. Not sure it will be the same if he wants to represent himself as a president next time).

He actually did a liberal policy (Raffarin always says that he is in mission). They wanted to restore the confidence of the french people into the politics. He didn't do that. Most of the French people are thinking that he is doing reforms against them (no concertation, no explanation except for us: 'go on! go on strike, it will be less money for you and more for the state'. This attitude shocked the civil servants.

One thing can be added: there was one other surprise for the Socialist Party: some low-paid people, some workers went back and voted for them. This is in this way that we can consider this vote as a pro-socialist which appears to be the party which cares about the poorest.

Other question: Are these public sector reforms necessary?

Obviously yes. But surely not like that. :P

Jean Philippe

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What a challenging time!

Yes you're right.

In France, Chirac seems not to agree with you as he let Raffarin as a PM.

What srike me the most is that 2 months ago we were talking about a liberal Europe because in the present EU contries only 1 country was led by a left-wing's one. But today, since the Spanish election, everything seems to be open again.

The European election will be a giant test for each country.

Jean Philippe

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