1:45 AM in Paris June 10, 2007
by Nidra Poller
French voters went to the polls again today, to choose the deputies that will fill the Parliament that will govern in harmony with Nicolas Sarkozy. Incidentally there are 577 deputies, not 555 as I reported in a recent column. My figure did not come off the top of my head (when you see l’Assembl√©e on TV, there are hundreds of empty plush red seats, and about 98 deputies); it came from a duly researched document and I can’t explain the discrepancy. Another error I would like to correct at this time: S√©gol√®ne Royal voted for herself, in the recent presidential elections, from her country home in Melle which is in les Deux-S√®vres and not, as I mistakenly suggested, in her Poitou Charentes fiefdom; she was a deput√©e from les Deux-S√®vres and a pr√©sidente of the Poitou Charentes region.
Nothing iffy about the results tonight.
Far Left 3.3%
Pollster’s predictions for next week’s final round are as follows:
UMP 462 – 501 seats
PS 69 – 107 seats
MoDem 0 – 2 seats
Extreme right, extreme left 0 seats
Record-breaking abstention (39%) coupled with a record-breaking first round score for the UMP would seem to indicate that the voters who stayed home were, in their majority, disappointed S√©gol√®ne Royalists and, more particularly, those banlieue youths who made such a hit in the media during the presidential campaign. Already fed up with democracy?
So much of the information gleaned by following the returns on TV tonight is fascinating to us but would sound like village gossip to outsiders. Every last detail will be available on line and on paper. I will condense and clarify it all in tomorrow’s report, which should be suitable to an international audience.
How does the Left swallow this resounding defeat? You guessed it! They blame it on the calendar, on the newly elected president, on the media, on the unbearable sorrow of their voters who can’t get over the fact that S√©gol√®ne did not win. They blame it on the voters, who don’t realize the terrible mistake they made in May and repeated in June. Sarkozy fooled them, the legislative candidates fooled them, Sarkozy’s program fooled them, the media fooled them into thinking that their candidates would lose so why bother? The Left is still shaking its fingers at voters and warning them of the dire consequences just around the corner.
Marielle de Sarnez, Fran√ßois Bayrou’s MoDem co-pilot, went into the usual spin: French voters, she said, ignoring everything they have been saying, are tired of this Right-Left divide. Sarnez, who was running in a Parisian circumscription, was eliminated on the first round.
As for cleavage, the France 3 anchorwoman in Marseille wore a black dress cleaved almost to the waist, with one third of each breast showing.
Once again, Fran√ßois Hollande and S√©gol√®ne Royal, separately and individually, rushed to make the first declarations. Hollande tried to motivate voters by reminding them-for the umpteenth time-of all the horrors that will befall them if they don’t wrench the Parliament out of president Sarkozy’s hands. S√©gol√®ne Royal tried to seduce them, looking into each pair of eyes individually as she smiled and said “those who were loyal to my name,” who stayed home because they were so disappointed, especially those youths who came so freshly into my party…I know you’ll rise to the occasion and vote next week.
Olivier Besancenot, the Revolutionary Communist League’s mailman-presidential candidate, more or less crossed off the election and invited his supporters to get ready for some good old street fighting.
Bruno Gollnisch, the infamous Front National negationist, said his party’s voters are subject to apartheid in the unfair French electoral system. “They know that no matter how hard they vote, they’ll never be able to elect deputies.” You understand? Of course they don’t vote if they can’t be sure of winning.
It is too late tonight to go into the details about the representational system by which, in fact, some parties may get a considerable number of votes and still not have any deputies. But that doesn’t prevent them from drumming up even more votes, and overcoming the obstacle, does it?
Extreme Left, Extreme Right, and Socialists all lamented to the same basic tune: democracy requires a healthy balance between the party in power and the opposition. And not a single one of them acknowledged that the way to ensure that healthy balance is to appeal to voters and obtain their confidence. In the same way that they confuse equal chances with equal results, they confuse political freedom with guaranteed victory. We’re the opposition, so voters have to elect us…whether they like it or not.
A poll of voter motivation revealed that over 60% of voters based their choice on the candidate’s party affiliation rather than any local consideration, a rarity in legislative elections where local personalities and interests usually take priority.
It is unlikely that voters will change their minds next week and heed the howling calls of depressed Socialists trying to convince them that the creation of wealth will not be good for them. Wealth, moan the Socialists, is for the rich. All you poor miserable creatures should huddle with us, trust us to keep you poor, and give you handouts.
Azouz Begag, who lost his job as Undersecretary for equal opportunity in the Chirac government when he published a virulently anti-Sarkozy book during the campaign, was one of Fran√ßois Bayrou’s most visible supporters. He ran for deputy in a banlieue circumscription on the MoDem ticket, and was eliminated in the first round.
More details on winners and losers later today …