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Legislative elections 2012

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The French legislative elections were held from June 10th - 17th last year. Does the crushing defeat of the UMP mean the end of the party, which was the first one to form the French Right? Or will the party of the former president make a new start instead?

UMP refreshed, but not washed down by the pink wave

Hélène Legay | translated by: Hélène Legay | 2013. April 27. 10:44

On June 17th, the French voted in the second round of their legislative elections. The French Socialist Party won 280 out of 577 seats; against 194 seats of UMP. The pink wave was possibly overwhelming, but it did not drown the main French right-wing party.

The Left gathers all powers: Elysée Palace, Assembly, Senate, regions, most departments... However, this "pink wave" is nothing in comparison to a previously announced tsunami. Taking in accord its historically high rate of abstention, it is also stained by the defeat of Ségolène Royal, a candidate of the PS in the presidential elections of 2007 in the first district of Charentes-Maritimes.

*A defeat worth valuable lessons

For some people, like the former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the defeat of the Right results from progressive conservatism of the UMP, which was aiming to seduce the electorate of the National Front. However, now when the campaign is over and tongues are loosened, a growing part of the UMP leaders renounces the extreme right direction, which was initiated by Sarkozy’s adviser Patrick Buisson. The UMP could return towards more Republican values ​​and become again the party representing hopes of the French as in 2007. Meanwhile, the UMP will have to play the role of the main opposition party for the next five years.

*No “honeymoon” for the Left

Large-scaled demagoguery practiced by the PS in order to get elected has only little effect. A "nudge" concerning SMIC (the minimum wage) will result in a growth of only 0.6%, the rest would be offsetting inflation. When it comes to the pompous "Ministry of a Productive Recovery" of Arnaud Montebourg, it shines by its absence in the Parisian region, where the automobile group PSA foresees the closure of its factory. Moreover, François Hollande, who castigated Sarkozy for mixing his private life with the public sphere, has to face an embarrassment of the "Tweetgate" affair, triggered by a message of support published from the Twitter account of his companion Valerie Trierweiler. The tweet was addressed to Olivier Falorni, also a PS member, and a competitor in Charentes-Maritimes of the former president's wife, Ségolène Royal...

*No such thing as insurmountable obstacles

In front of a potentially implosive strength of the defeat, the UMP stays welded. The party is currently seeking for a leader; for someone who will put the party back in track of the French politics. In addition, the UMP should benefit from a debacle of the MoDem, the party of François Bayrou, which would let it seduce the centrist electorate. When it comes to the Left, disastrous effects seem to be coming towards it. It seems the country will have to speak for itself before the municipal, European and Senate elections in 2014. So far the future appears to be far from compromising for the UMP.

The PS has means to implement its program

Constance Marécheau | translated by: Constance Marécheau | 2013. April 27. 10:44

The stakes of the last elections were considerable, in spite of what the massive abstention could have suggested. The main issue concerns providing the new president with a majority in the National Assembly in order to let him govern the country. What lessons can be learned from the choice of the polls?

The first element to be remembered from the last elections is the overwhelming victory of the Left, which has not happened since 1981. The Socialist Party of President Hollande and his close allies got indeed an absolute majority in the National Assembly with their 314 seats. If we add other left parties supporting their policy such as the Europe Ecology Party, the Greens or the Left Front, the new majority can count on 341 MPs.

*Overwhelming victory of the left

The defeat of the Socialist candidate in the 2007 presidential elections, Ségolène Royal, against the dissident socialist Hervé Falorni seems to stain the victory of the Left. Nevertheless, the final result is very favourable for the French Left, especially since the Socialist Party has particularly good prospects. The divisions and conflicts from the Reims Congress in 2008 are already overcome, but this cannot be said about its main rival, the UMP.

*Collapse of the populist right

The second consequence of these elections is a collapse of the populist and extreme right. Out of the fifty candidates of the UMP who claim to represent the people’s right, nearly half has lost the elections. Among them there are well-known political figures and former ministers of Fillon’s government, as Nadine Morano or Claude Gueant - another sign of rejection of the politics of the former President. After the electoral defeat, the future seems uncertain for the UMP. The moderate current of the party no longer supports a barely concealed leaning towards the extreme-right of the actual party chairman, Jean-Francois Cope. In addition, the war of chefs was declared between Jean-François Cope and the former Prime Minister François Fillon, who both aim to take the head of the UMP during the next congress of the party. When it comes to the potential assault by the National Front, feared by many, the threat is still nonexistent. The party of Marine Le Pen returned to the Assembly with 2 MPs. However, when the proportional voting system was introduced for the election of 1986, the National Front had won 35 seats. In addition, the appointed MPs from FN are Gilbert Collard and Marion Marshal Le Pen. The first is not even an official member of the party and the latter is only 22 years old, implying a certain lack of experience.

*Expected to change

What will these results mean in the years to come? François Hollande has now all the means to introduce his own program. Indeed, the Socialist Party and generally speaking the Left, disposes of the majority in the National Assembly, the Senate and it governs many of the French regions and cities.

The victory of the Socialist Party provides favourable conditions for the mandate of François Hollande. His politics, though, should rather meet up with the expectations of the French.

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

The state of votes

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UMP refreshed, but not washed down by the pink wave

Hélène Legay|translated by: Hélène Legay

The PS has means to implement its program

Constance Marécheau| translated by: Constance Marécheau

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