• Big winner: The National Front
  • France

  • 02 Jul 14 Posted under: France
  • Results 2014

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    The French Shock

    The European elections, coming on the heels of local elections, were a disaster for the left. They confirmed, all at once, the dissatisfaction of the French people for the course being followed by the European Union, and their distaste with the policies conducted by the president and his premier.
    Voter abstention dropped by almost 3% (56.8% vs. 59.4% in 2009), and polls indicated that issues of primarily European importance were a stronger factor than previously in determining how to vote. More than half (55%) of persons interviewed indicated that European issues were what motivated them to make their choice; only one third had given this response in previous European elections.

    The parties considered to be “of the government”, the Socialists (PS) on the left and the Gaullist UMP on the right, both lost ground. The UMP dropped 7 percentage points from 27.8% to 20.7%, while the Socialist Party dropped 2 ½ percentage points, from 16.3% to 13.9%. For the PS, this was the worst result since that achieved by Michel Rocard in 1993.

    The big winner of the election was the National Front (FN) headed by Marine Le Pen, which quadrupled its result over 2009, getting 26% as opposed to 6.3% in the previous election. It is likely to take 24 of France’s 74 seats in the European Parliament. This trend was shown in all electoral districts, and was particularly spectacular in the northwest, where the FN outclassed the UMP, with 33.6% vs. 18.8%. Only in the Ile-de-France region around Paris and in the West (deservedly) was the party surpassed by the established party of the right. The vote for the FN seems to have been the strongest among employed persons, particularly blue-collar workers, with one poll indicating that 45% of those workers who went to the polls voted for the FN.

    The French Left thus suffered a crushing blow, losing 10% of its vote in five years, and winning its lowest level of support (34.7%) in the history of European parliamentary elections. The Ecologists (EE-LV) were unable to repeat their good showing of 2009 under the leadership of Dany Cohn-Bendit, dropping from 16.3% to 8.7%.

    As for the Left Front (FG), its results were deceptive. It had hope to profit from discontent on the left provoked by the policies pursued by President François Hollande, and from the dynamism of the radical left at the continental level. This was not realized. The FG’s candidates improved their position only slightly, from 6% to 6.2%, and all in all, the left front lost one seat, that of Jacky Hénin in the Northwest. It seems that only half of those who had voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon for president in 2012 went to the polls this time.

    In 2009, the Left Front and the extreme Left had attracted a little over 12% of the voters; this time, that dropped to 7.8%. The FG failed to profit from the drop in support of the extreme left parties, the NPA and the LO. Adding to these parties the 3% won by the “Nouvelle Donne” list of recent dissidents from the PS, the total for the “Left of the Left” amounts to less than 11% of the vote.

    All in all, the results of the European elections for the Left can be summed up in three points:

    1. The drop in support for the “parties of government” indicates the extent to which the institutionalized political world has been discredited. The left and the right alike give the impression of being an autistic system, deaf to the anguish and wishes of the country.

    2. The social-liberal option taken by the PS has shocked the left, which is historically structured around the values of equality and democracy. This neoliberal slide alienates segments of the population which feel abandoned.

    3. Currently, this dissatisfaction translates into resentment more than combativeness. The voter abstentionism and the vote for the FN are the major result. For the alternative left in France, this raises crucial questions of structuring and renovation in the culture of their project.

    Roger Martelli, 26.5.2014

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    Statement by PCF

    Current assessments, marked by a high level of abstention and the historic level of the National Front, confirm that the political and democratic crisis in France has reached a critical threshold. This is a new alarm. France was plunged into a disturbing democratic malaise. The reasons for this are clear: the massive rejection of the liberal model of the European Union and the contempt that proponents of this model have shown to all those who challenged it for the past 10 years; François Hollande and Manuel Valls’ confinement in austerity – disowned by the country; the disarray in which this situation plunges the working class and all the left-wing voters.

    National Front’s victory, whose roots are to be found in the people’s discontentment and the seizure of right-wing’s votes, is a dramatic event that will affect both France and the EU as a whole.

    Right and extreme right’s success thrive on the massive rejection of the government’s majority.  The Left is strongly weakened by the elections.

    In this context, the results of the Left Front, equivalent to 2009, do not take up the challenge of a majority alternative voice for the Left. A major work is ahead of us.

    Tonight, the French Communist Party issues a solemn appeal. A real and credible Left perspective drawing a clear line under a system acquainted with the neoliberal theory must emerge from this political crisis. The Left has gone too far from its values. It can only rediscover a true popular echo through a social and political movement of the magnitude of a 21st century Popular. Tonight we call on all those who are feeling unhappy with the Left, all the dynamic forces of the country, youth and workers, to gather forces immediately. The Left Front is for them to use.

    In this aim, the results of our European partners from the group GUE-​​NGL, as well as the progression of the idea of ​​a Left alternative in Europe are encouraging signs.

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    J. L. Mélenchon‘s first statement:

    “Our country experiences a volcanic eruption with yet a very acid rain. This level of the FN is suffocating. The old continent moves towards the abyss. That‘s what at the moment prevails. Our score although the same as 2009 is however disappointing. The Front the Gauche did not do everything it ought to do. There were errors as well as our message is difficult because people put us in the same pocket with the SP. The bloc of the Left has never been so down. It is a historic bottom, a disaster. It is necessary to change the course.“

    25.5.2014, 20:00

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    With difficulty, the three elements of the Front de Gauche have managed to reach an agreement to establish common lists for the 7 French electoral constituencies (an additional 8th consists of the overseas territories). The Left Party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the Communist Party of Pierre Laurent present each three leading candidates of the lists. The Front de Gauche scored high in the 2012 presidential elections, reaching an 11.1% share of the vote, but subsequently experienced a drop in the general elections and only managed to keep 10 of the former 19 seats. As it failed to ally with the Front de Gauche, the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) of Olivier Besancenot will present its own lists in five constituencies, while Lutte ouvrier (LO) will stand for the elections in all the eight constituencies.

    25.5.2014, 18:13

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    IN POWER: Socialist Party

    Radical left party in the EP: 5 seats of 72

    With difficulty, the three elements of the Front de Gauche have managed to reach an agreement to establish common lists for the 7 French electoral constituencies (an additional 8th consists of the overseas territories). The Left Party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the Communist Party of Pierre Laurent present each three leading candidates of the lists. The Front de Gauche scored high in the 2012 presidential elections, reaching an 11.1% share of the vote, but subsequently experienced a drop in the general elections and only managed to keep 10 of the former 19 seats. As it failed to ally with the Front de Gauche, the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) of Olivier Besancenot will present its own lists in five constituencies, while Lutte ouvrier (LO) will stand for the elections in all the eight constituencies.

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    Election Results 2009

    Results 2009: percentage

    Results 2009: seats

    Election Results 2009


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