Sunday, March 28, 2004

The Right Swept Away, the Left Triumphant

(The following post contains translated excerpts from this AFP article which appeared today in Le Figaro):

The majority UMP-UDF suffered a definitive setback in the second round of regional elections. Voters, who turned out in higher numbers than on March 21, increased the Left’s victory. Polls indicate that the Right has lost a dozen regions, without however losing Ile-de-France.

The Left won a landslide victory in the second round of regional elections, increasing the protest vote against the Raffarin government and sweeping the Right from 20 out of 22 regions in France. All eyes are now on Jacques Chirac.

The fate of the government and, above all, of the Prime Minister, is in the hands of the President. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, while recognizing that, given the results, “there will definitely be changes,” notably with “a more fair course of action,” nonetheless did not, in any way, suggest that his days were numbered at Matignon.

Although expressing himself with care, the head of government made a point of mentioning that the “any response” should be “carried out under the authority of the President of the Republic.” According to a poll conducted this week by SOFRES, which will appear Monday in L’Express, 59% of French want to see Raffarin go, and 29% hope that he will remain. 40% want Nicolas Sarkozy to replace Raffarin.

A little less than two years after Chirac’s overwhelming victory in the presidential elections (which was followed by the Right’s parliamentary victory), the right-wing majority has suffered a complete collapse, in a reversal of electoral fortunes that has not been seen since 1981. It seems that the Left got its maximum possible vote in the election, including from the Far Left and from those who abstained from the first round of elections who turned out to vote on Sunday…

A sign of the Left’s victory and of the scathing repudiation of the Prime Minister: his former electoral stronghold, Poitou-Charentes—that Raffarin led for 14 years up until 2002—went to Ségolène Royal of the Socialist Party. Royal obtained 55.5% of the votes, 20 points more than Elisabeth Morin (UMP), Raffarin’s successor in the region…

Other victims of the landslide victory for the Left included the former president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (UMP) in Auvergne…

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