The Socialists have held former Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Val d’Oise seat (Sarcelles) in a by-election on December 9 and 16. In June 2007, the UMP candidate and lawyer Sylvie Noachovitch had caused a surprise when she led DSK in the first round, before losing 55-45 to DSK. Resigning only a few months later to become head of the International Monetary Fund, his protege and incumbent Mayor of Sarcelles François Pupponi became the PS candidate. This is the constituency of Villiers le Bel, where riots and building destruction happened in November 2007.
While participation was just 25.06%, the PS led the first round by 168 votes over Noachovitch, though the UMP vote was up albeit minimally. The surprise was the FN’s surge, from a mere 4% to 7.47% this election, and over 10% in Villiers le Bel. The Communist vote was also up to 6.03%, while the centrist MoDem lost 0.28% of its June 2007 vote.
Pupponi was elected today with around 54.4% of the vote, down from DSK’s second round score in June.
Could this FN re-birth from it’s June disaster be a nationwide trend? We’ll need to wait until March 2008 for a confirmation on that.