France: Chirac

Jacques Chirac saw 43% of the 63% of the French people who bothered to vote, opt for his UMP (Union for a Presidential Majority) against the Socialist Party’s meagre 25%, while the French Communist Party, moribund, did not even get 5% of the vote.

The results of this first round of legislative elections in France mirrors the rest of Europe, where the zigzag movement of modern parliamentary democracies dictates a left-right movement every decade. Now the right-wing is in fashion, as the new voters cast their first decisions, the left wing parties having failed to communicate to them why they had been voted into government after years of monetarist policies destroyed the social fabric of Europe, giving rise to the leftist wave of the 1990s.

As the Greens regressed to their habitual 5%, so did Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front, back to 11%, as the Fifth Republic beat all records as to abstention, fixed at 37% of the vote. Financial and political scandals in recent years have separated the French political class from its electorate, like elsewhere in Europe, creating a wave of apathy along the lines of “you are paid enough and have a comfortable enough life, now work and do not bother me”. So thought 15 million voters.

Next Sunday comes the second round, which is forecast to produce more of the same, meaning that the French people have decided that cohabitation is not pretty and that Jean-Marie Le Pen is not as handsome a beast as had been imagined.


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