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Archive for November, 2008

By-election watch: Gironde-8th

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

The first round of the parliamentary by-election the 8th constituency of Gironde was held a week ago. The seat, which claims the “largest seat in France” status (around with 5 other constituencies, of which all are bogus), stretches from the wealthy and rightie Arcachon to the more blue-collar and leftie areas in the rest of the constituency. The seat has been held since 2002 by Marie-Hélène des Esgaulx (UMP), who was elected Senator in September and prompted this by-election. The seat was held from 1997 to 2002 by the Socialist François Deluga. The UDF won the seat in 1988 and 1993. The media didn’t say anything about this election, or else I would have posted a more complete profile of the constituency. Deluga is running in a third attempt to regain his seat lost in 2002. Yves Foulon, Mayor of Arcachon, ran as a DVD dissident candidate against des Esgaulx in 2002. This constituency is also one of the top CPNT constituencies: Saint-Josse polled over 11% here in 2002. The FN used to poll double digits in its good days here, over 12% in 1997 and Le Pen won nearly 15% in 2002.

François Deluga (PS) 43.77 (+12.27)
Yves Foulon (UMP) 40.95 (-6.6)

Emmanuel Perrin (CPNT) 3.78 (+1.18)
Jacques Courmontagne (MoDem) 3.57 (-3.29)
Monique Nicolas (LCR) 3.22 (+1.22)
André-Christian Darriet (PCF) 2.31 (+0.59)
Lydie Croizier (FN) 2.30 (-0.46)
Sébastien Jacques (DVD) 0.07 (new)

Parliamentary Left (PS, PCF) 46.08
Right (UMP, CPNT, DVD) 44.8

The race will be tight, and very tough it seems for Foulon. Adding the LCR’s 3% in its entirety to Deluga/PCF, he has 49.3% (be careful doing that. Trot voters are unreliable in runoffs). Adding the FN’s 2.3% to Foulon/CPNT he has 47.1%. Once again, the MoDem’s weak but important 3.57% will likely decide the runoff. I’ll either look like a total fool and hack or a great predictor in a few hours, but I’m going to predict a narrow UMP victory. After all, I did very well predicting the last two by-elections (Rhone-11 and Eure-et-Loir-1), so jamais deux sans trois I hope!

Here is a map of 2007. The Gironde prefecture is a total joke, and has only posted the generic percentages without communal data. If only everybody was like the Rhone prefecture…

Florida 2000! Recount!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

The PS leadership saga, which was supposed to end early last night with a clear winner in the runoff, is still not over.

In Thursday’s first round, Royal won 42.4% with Aubry taking 34.7% and Hamon at 24%. The Delanoe voters didn’t go massively for Aubry, and it seems like only one-third of them did vote for Aubry, with the rest split between Royal and abstention (although I doubt a third of them abstained. Turnout went from 56 to 59). Hamon endorsed Aubry, both of which are from the left-wing of the PS.

The runoff was held last evening (17:00 to 22:00) between Royal and Aubry. The first results showed that Royal seemed to have run away with it, quite clearly, with something like 52-53. However, the ones saying that were all Royalists. As more votes got counted from the big feds, Aubry narrowed Royal’s margin by a significant margi. Then the Aubry camp claimed victory by about 100 votes, and the Royalists shut up. Early this morning, the PS leadership confirmed these results:

Aubry 67,413 (50.02%)
Royal 67,371 (49.98%)

Turnout was down slightly from 59% on Thursday, but not by much. It was probably helped by the fact that a few feds had runoffs for the local party leadership.

So, Aubry won by around 42 votes nationally. A recount will probably take place, and nobody is actually celebrating Aubry as the “winner” just yet. The Royalists haven’t given up hope and Royal has adopted the “let’s vote again until you give the right answer” strategy and called for a third round (Ukraine 2004 anybody?). Whoever wins (it’ll probably be Aubry), the PS couldn’t have a worse result (though Royal ahead by 42 votes would’ve been bad. The old guard would probably have committed mass suicide). However, once again, I can make a projection. The UMP has won the PS leadership race overwhelmingly. The Besancenot Trots have won too. And maybe even the MoDem (though probably not. Too busy losing members to notice).

The PS hasn’t released results by fed yet (understandably), but some departmental feds have done so.

Rennes II

Monday, November 17th, 2008

The Congress of Reims itself ended last night, after three (useless) days. Everybody urged unity, but nobody wanted to create it themselves. Royal was even booed by members when taking up the touchy issue of alliances with the MoDem. The Reims Congress made the 1990 Rennes Congress (which was dominated by a similar battle and division) look like an example in party unity. The PS shouldn’t hold a Congress in a city starting with “R” or the “Rein” sound anytime soon.

Of course, this is far from over. Now that everybody wasted three days of their life in Reims, it continues. Members will vote on Thursday (first round) to elect a leader. In past years, like 2005, every motion made peace at the Congress and came back together around one candidate. This time, nobody made peace (or almost) and there are three candidates. Martine Aubry, third place in the motions faces her enemy Ségolène Royal, first place in the motions, in this close election. Benoit Hamon, fourth place with 19% in the motions has made peace with nobody (except with the kooky “Utopia” motion, 2%) and is running again. Delanoë, by far the biggest loser in this whole thing, will not run and endorsed Martine Aubry this morning, confirming that he too wants Royal to go away. A majority of his 25% will probably go for Aubry, now the establishment candidate, but the more moderate Delanoë voters might prefer Royal. Anyways, it is hard to predict this thing as the motions vote showed us very well. Members might say “screw the two women” and elected Hamon, the dark horse. Or they might prefer the rebel and fresher-face Royal and elect her. Whichever way they vote, the party is divided and the next leader will face a divided party. There is, however, one winner in all this. Nicolas Sarkozy and the UMP.

If no candidate wins 50% of votes on Thursday, the voters will vote again in a runoff. I’m predicting a runoff will be held. But, who knows?

Reims Congress: The results

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The Figaro leaked the full results with 99% or so counted last night, and LeMonde.fr released an interactive map this morning, so it appears to be official now. With further adu, the map.

A map of party rivalries, local party bosses and barons, and not at all sociological.

And, don’t trust the leaks that had Hamon ahead in Ardeche. Not as bad as the “SNP will win Glenrothes” rumours and leaks, but still rumours. Yeah, don’t trust them.

Firstly, Royal:

Royal is herself (Poitou-Charentes), the Mayor of Dijon Francois Rebsamen (Côte d’Or), former NPS Vincent Peillon (Somme), Bouches-du-Rhône General Council president and very influental PS boss Guérini (from the Bouches-du-Rhône to the Alpes Maritimes), the Mayor of Lyon and actual leader of her motion Gerard Collomb (Rhône), Bianco (Alpes de Haute Provence), and even the new Mayor of Laval (Mayenne), Guillaume Garot, who probably influenced the small Orne fed. The Hérault fed has some problems of its own with the whole Frèche fiasco thingee, but voted for Royal. The Aude is a bit weird. They too seem to be in a bit of problems right now and it lacks leadership.

Delanoë is the establishment. His major strenghts come from Hollande (Corrèze, Haute-Vienne, Cantal), Jospin (Ariège, though he underperformed in Jospin’s home turn of Haute-Garonne), what remains of DSK (Vaucluse, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise), and Rocard strongholds (Bretagne, Bas-Rhin, Franche-Comté). He got only 38% in Paris, and massively underperformed in the Paris suburbia. Delanoë has little real support all in all, apart from Hollande’s base in the Limousin and Cantal and other areas influenced by old party bosses. His support outside of those area is low. But then, so is Aubry’s.

This map shows how much Fabius contributed to Aubry’s 24ish percent. She got, on her own, only her home turn of Nord-Pas de Calais. Fabiusist control of the feds or Fabius influence made her win the Seine-Maritime, Eure, Calvados, Oise, Indre, Cher, Vosges, Haute-Corse, Pyrénées Orientales, and Seine-Saint-Denis. Saône et Loire? Arnaud Montebourg. However, I am surprised at the “evaporation” of Fabiusist support in the Eure. Fabius’ motion got over 50% in 2005 and Fabius managed to get over 40% in the humiliating 2006 primary. Aubry only won that with a bit over 30%.

Hamon is the left of the party. The eternal party leftist Henri Emmanuelli (Landes, Pyrénées Atlantiques) in addition to the Manche Aube, Creuse and Essonne (Mélenchon, the one who is pissed off).

Full results by fed are available online on LeFigaro here. A is Delanoe, B is the ecologist motion, C is Hamon, D is Aubry, E is Royal and E is Utopia.

A few stats:

  • Total registered militants 232,912
  • Voting 131,930 (56.64%, of which 98.99% were valid)
  • Biggest feds: Paris (19,801), Pas-de-Calais (15,040), Nord (11,632), Bouches-du-Rhône (10,995)
  • Smallest fed: Wallis-et-Futuna (2, none of which voted), Lozere (258)

Feuds, feuds, feuds: Reims Congress

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Before anything else, here is a brief overview of how the Socialist Party works. It’s intricate and complex.

Hierarchy

  • 161,404 militants (members)
  • about 4,000 sections (uniting militants in cities, factory, neighborhood. Atleast 5 members with an elected leader).
  • 102 Federations (One for each department and one for French citizens abroad. Led by an elected first secretary). A lot of the sections are led by influential party bosses (Guerini comes to mind in the very powerful Bouches-du-Rhone federation).
  • 306 councillors in the National Council (the party’s Parliament that meets 4 times a year. Composed of 102 federal first secretaries and 204 members designated during party congresses)
  • Bureau etc. (57 members in the bureau, between 20-30 in the secretariat) are designated by the Nat. Council on the advice of the first secretary
  • First Secretary elected by militants in the sections.

Dates

  • September 23, 2008: Limit date for deposing motions to the National Council.
  • November 6, 2008: Sections vote on motions. The federal congresses then designate delegates to go to the Congress, based proportionally on the motions results.
  • November 14-16, 2008: Congress in Reims. In 2005, there were 614 delegates plus 849 members by right (council and bureau members, MNAs, Senators).That figure is slightly higher based on PS gains in the Nat Assembly and Senate.
  • November 20-21, 2008: Leadership election by militants in sections.
  • November 22, 2008: Bureau and Secretariat designated by the National Council on the advice of the leader.

So, the 102 federations voted on Thursday for motions, there were six motions in the running:

  • Royal’s motion (led by Gerard Collomb, Mayor of Lyon). Basically a personality cult with no ideology.
  • Delanoe’s motion. Reformist, moderate, and social liberal (the L-word which is like the F-word in the PS). Also, the establishment’s motion (Hollande, Rocard, Ayrault, Jospin).
  • Aubry’s motion. Unholy alliance of Fabiusists and Aubry lefties.
  • Hamon’s motion. Quasi-Trot, eurosceptic, and left-wing motion. Comparable to the NPS motion in 2005.
  • Utopia motion (which got 1.02% in 2005). Trots, alterglobalization and other kooks.
  • a miscellaneous “ecologist pole”. Eco-socialists.

The results were very surprising: Royal 29.1%, Aubry 24.41%, Delanoë 24.91%, Hamon 18.66%. Greenies and Utopia below 2%. Firstly, polls indicated that Delanoë had a strong lead and Royal and Aubry were in battle for second position. They had Hamon between 1% and 6%. Firstly, Royal obviously still holds sway over the party base, perhaps due to her status as the rebel and anti-establishment rebel. Hamon was obviously helped by the financial crisis, during which he opposed the government’s bailout. Shows that the NPS left of the PS is still a strong force, even though his result is below the 23.5% polled by the NPS motion in Le Mans. The PS has not yet published results, and will likely wait until Monday to do so. There appears to be a 700 vote margin separating Aubry and Delanoë. And around 1000 votes from the DOM Guadeloupe fed have not yet reported. Leaks have said that Delanoë won Paris with around 38-37 over 25-26 for Royal. Aubry won Lille with around 75. Not sure if that is Lille or the Nord as a whole. Strenghtened by the Guérini endorsement, Royal won the Bouches-du-Rhône with 71 and won the large Hérault fed by 54 (a smaller margin than originally expected). Ouest-France reported results for the west, and would have Royal leading in the Orne, Mayenne, and Vendée. Delanoë would be leading in all 5 Breton departments + the Maine-et-Loire and the Sarthe. Hamon would be ahead in the Calvados and Manche. Leaks suggest he would also be leading in Ardèche.

Aubry has done well, but she basically got the votes of the Fabiusists base (20% of the PS) and little apart from that. Hamon will not let her take the leadership of the left-wing of the party. Hamon’s success is bad for her.

The Reims Congress seems to have the smells of the infamous 1990 Rennes Congress. Royal is celebrated as the winner by the media and pundits and for many, she is now the party leader automatically. It doesn’t work that way. On November 20, the feds will vote again for the leader (and choose between candidates, not motions/lists). Ideally, the party finds one candidate for all motions. However, the race is personal this time.

Here is how it could break down:

  • Anti-establishment (Royal-Hamon; 47.76%): No majority, and Royal and Hamon are too ideologically different to work together, unless Royal is desperate.
  • Establishment (Delanoë-Aubry; 49.32%): Falls just short of a majority, and Delanoë and Aubry have large egos and a combination between two strong contenders wouldn’t work out well and one ego would be crushed.
  • Lefties (Aubry-Hamon; 43.07%): No majority. Hamon wouldn’t let Aubry take over the left-wing of the PS and the PS isn’t that left-wing to elect a leader from the NPS/leftie faction.
  • We Hate Royal majority (Delanoë-Aubry-Hamon; 67.98%): The most plausible coalition, but doesn’t solve long-term problems. Firstly, the problem of ego comes back and the gnomes would have a hard time agreeing on a common candidate for the leadership. Secondly, the moderate-reformist establishment (Hollande and Rocard) would likely disapprove of the quasi-Trot Hamon in the majority and could switch to Royal, who would be the more moderate of the two coalitions. Feuds, feuds, feuds.
  • Moderate majority (Royal-Delanoë; 54.01%): Would make sense on paper, but Delanoë hates Royal.
  • Aubry-Royal would never work, because Aubry would rather join the UMP than work with Royal, whom she absolutely hates. In addition, Fabius and Royal are enemies.

Of course, these coalitions could totally fail on November 20 when the party base votes again. A candidate put forward by a plethora of motions who represent 50% of the votes or more could lose. Also, don’t underestimate the popularity of the anti-establishment and especially Royal with the base.
To make things worse, Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Senator, Essonne) and Marc Dolez (Deputy, Nord-17) have left the PS and want to create a party like the German Die Linke and wish to lead the “true left” in the 2009 EU elections. Good luck with that, guys.

Mélenchon and Dolez had endorsed the Hamon motion, btw.

Continue reading for Breton results. Of course, a map will be made when all the results by fed come out and are official.

(more…)

Parti Breton, regionalists and the 2009 EU elections

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

The Parti Breton (Strollad Breizh) has announced its intentions to contest the 2009 European parliamentary elections in France. The PB is a small centrist-liberal party that wants Breton independence. Irrelevant anyways, but brought me to think about regionalists and EU elections.

  • In 2004, despite a million tiny unknown lists running, only one regionalist list ran. A Régionalistes : Occitanie, Catalogne, Euskadi list ran in the South-West constituency and got 0.37 in that constituency.
  • In 1999, a Martinican based-list, 97.2: mi ou, mi mwen, which was a small liberal party in the Martinique. It got 6% in Martinique, and 0.03% nationwide.
  • 1994 saw the most regionalist lists run: two. The most important was a regionalist/federalist list led by Max Siméoni, a Corsican nat. It won 0.39% nationwide, but broke 10.5% in Corse-du-Sud and 11.3% in Haute-Corse. The other list was a Rassemblement d’Outre-mer (Overseas Rally) led by the Guadeloupean Communist (PPDG) Ernest Moutoussamy. The list won Guadeloupe with 37.25%. In Martinique, it got 20.2%, 17.04% in Guyane, and a mere 4.82% in the Reunion.