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Archive for the ‘Bretagne Politics and Elections’ Category

Douarnenez cantonal by-election

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

The first round of a cantonal election to replace outgoing Douarnenez UMP councillor Philippe Paul (elected as Senator in September) was held today. The canton is composed of the city of Douarnenez itself, as well as surrounding commuter belt communes. Douarnenez, once the stronghold of sardine factories, and the first city to elect a Communist mayor in the early 20s, was gained by the UMP (from the PS, which had won it from the UDF in 2001, which had defeated the PCF administration in 1995) in March last year. The sardine industry is reduced to little if anything at all, and the harbour has turned into your usual leisure port.

A map of the canton is available here.

The candidates were:

Hugues Tupin, Douarnenez municipal councillor (PCF)
Hervé Fourn,  Douarnenez municipal councillor (PS)
Bernard Conan (MoDem)
Jean Cathala, 2008 candidate (Greenies)
Erwan Le Floch, deputy mayor of Douarnenez (DVD)
Arnaud Vannier (Breizhistance). Left-wing Breton nat movement.

The MoDem didn’t run a candidate against Paul, an ex-UDF himself, in March last year, but is doing so this time.

The results are

I : 19 101 ; V : 5 589 ; Exp : 5 478 ; Abs: 71,32 %

Hugues Tupin (PCF, though apparently counted as DVG) : 1 028 (18.77%)
Hervé Fourn (PS) : 981 (17.91%)
Bernard Conan (Modem) : 613 (11.19%)
Jean Cathala (Verts) : 510 (9.31%)
Erwan Le Floch (DVD, though apparently counted as SE) : 2 112 (38.55%)
Arnaud Vannier (Breizhistance) : 234 (4.27%)

Some random scenarios now.

Firstly, the state of the various forces

Tupin (PCF+PS+Greenies+Nats) 50.26
Le Floch 38.55
Centrists 11.19

The Nats might not turn out en masse in the runoff, giving Tupin 45.99% then. Splitting the MoDem is more tricky. Breton MoDem voters generally split for the left by a quite important margin. According to my quick, unreliable, and very sketchy calculations, around 58% of Bayrou’s 22.5% in the canton of Douarnenez voted for Royal in the runoff (Royal won 54.6%). According to even sketchier and even more unreliable calculations, 61% of MoDem voters (12.2%) voted for the PS candidate in the general election (who won 50.6%). Assuming 61% of the MoDem voters this time voted for the leftie, and not counting Nats, Tupin wins 51%. And nearly 55% if the all the Nats turn out for Tupin. Hard to see a scenario where Le Floch wins this one, unless the dynamics of abstention change dramatically, or MoDem voters don’t turn out en masse for a Communist.

I’m therefore predicting a PCF pickup, which would return them to the general council, from which they are shut out of since they lost Huelgoat, their last canton, in March last year.

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.

French Legislative 2007: Cotes d’Armor

Monday, December 17th, 2007

The Cotes d’Armor has for a long time been the left’s stronghold in Brittany. If one looks through old electoral statistics, the left has always achieved stronger results in Cotes d’Armor than elsewhere in Brittany. In 2007, Segolene Royal took 30% by the first round and 55% on the second round, compared to 28% in Ille-et-Vilaine and 29% in Finistère. The Communists have also performed above average here, for example Buffet took 2.32% in the department, compared to around 1.9% nationally. Geographically, Socialist support is concentrated heavily in the west of the department, in the constituencies of Guingamp and Lannion while also acheiving high results in Saint Brieuc. The eastern regions, Dinan and Loudeac trend minimally more towards the right, and of those two only Loudeac and the south of the department are more right-wing than its neighboring regions. In the first round of the 2007 presidential election, Dinan and Loudeac voted for Sarkozy, the three other constituencies voted for Royal, with her scores in these three constituencies above her departmental average. Royal won all constituencies in the second round, including Loudeac and Dinan. Once again, a clear east-west divide is seen- she took 52% in Loudeac and Dinan but from 55 to 61% in the three other constituencies.

The results of the first round of the legislative election in Cotes d’Armor illustrated excellently the blue wave of the first round. UMP candidates took the lead in 3 constituencies, with Socialists leading in 2 constituencies. One could have believed the left’s lock on the department was crumbling, though that was not the case.

In the first constituency, Saint Brieuc, seat held by the Socialiste Danielle Bousquet, and a generally safe seat for the PS, the result showed a blue wave too, the UMP was up from 25% in 2002 to around 36%! Also, the Socialist vote was up too, from 34% to 39%. However, in 2002, a UDF candidate had taken 12% here, and in 2007 the MoDem ran no candidate in this constituency, the only constituency where they didn’t do so. To explain the increase in Socialist vote, there was less of a division in left-wing votes than in 2002, the idea of vote utile being shown here. Both the Communist and Green vote was down, the PCF had won 7.6% in 2002, the Greens 4.6%, and the Pole Republicain had 1.5%. In 2007, the Communists collapsed to 5.4%, and the Greens were down to 4.5%. Bousquet was of course re-elected, with over 57.7%, higher than her 55% score in 2002 and only a few points higher than Royal’s 57.2%.

The second constituency, formed by Dinan, Cap Frehel, Plancoet voted for Sarkozy in the first round and the seat itself is a marginal. In the first round, Michel Vaspart, UMP candidate on his second try, led the Socialist incumbent Jean Gaubert by two votes! The surge of the left nationwide in the second round provided Gaubert with the power to trounce Vaspart 54.7% to 45.3%. In 2002, the result had been much more marginal, Gaubert had defeated Vaspart with only 50.12%.

The third constituency, dominated by Loudéac and Lamballe, the first one being a city of the right, the other being a city of the left. The constituency is the only one held by the right. The first round of 2007 was easily dominated by the UMP incumbent Marc Le Fur, who was only 2% away from being elected by the first round. He took 48.02%, the Socialists over 10 points behind with 34.7%. Equally surprising is the scale of the centre’s collapse from Bayrou’s 21% in April to the MoDem’s mere 2.9% in June. In the south, Loudéac and surrouding villages all voted at over 50% for Le Fur, while Lamballe voted, in scores much closer than in the south, primarily for the Socialist candidate. In the second round, Le Fur was re-elected taking 52%, down only a few points from 52.7% in 2002.

Guingamp and its constituency is the most solid Socialist constituency in the department, Royal took over 61% in the second round here. This seat is also part of western Brittany’s red belt, the belt that extends into Morbihan where Communists achieve high scores. In fact, in 1997, a Communist was elected in a race including a Socialist candidate. In 2002, the Communists lost half their 1997 vote and fell to 15.8%. In 2007, the Socialist incumbent Marie-Renée Oget easily won the first round taking 32.6% to the UMP’s 26.16%. The Communists achieved their best score region wide, with over 12% and coming first in 5 towns. The MoDem also won 3 towns and took 10.2% in the constituency as a whole. The UDB, a left-wing autonomist party, leader and regional councillor Mona Bras won 4.9%. In the second round, Oget, with a strong reserve from the Communists and UDB easily won, trouncing the UMP with her 63%.

The fifth constituency, whose main city is Lannion votes, more or less, like the department as a whole. With the “blue wave” of the first round, the UMP candidate came out on top with 34% to the Socialist’s 33%. The MoDem was also strong, with 10.9%, the centre’s best score in the department, although far from Bayrou’s 21% in April. Continuing it’s local bellwether tradition, the Socialists carried the seat with 56%, increasing the party’s marginal 50.92% in 2002. The right came out on top, although most times by almost nothing, in the richer seaside resorts, for example Perros Guirec.

As for summing up a general trend in the department, the west is safe Socialist, the east is more marginal, with the south of the department being more rightwards leaning. Without forgetting of course the red belt in the west. Ahead of the 2008 municipal elections, the Socialists will be trying to take back Saint Brieuc from the right, after the left had lost it in 2001. Another target within the left’s reach is Dinan, which voted Socialist in the second round of the legislative elections and whose town hall is currently held by the right.

French Legislative 2007: Ille-et-Vilaine

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Since the second round of 1974 Ille-et-Vilaine is the French department that has trended the most towards the left. Mitterand took only 38.22% in 1974′s second round compared to over 60% for the centrist Giscard d’Estaing. In 2007, Segolene Royal, the socialist candidate sweeped all Breton departments except right-wing Morbihan. She took 52.39% in Illr-et-Vilaine.

The first constituency, centered around Rennes is a solid seat for the Socialists, having held it since 1997. Royal took over 60% in this constituency in the second round and the incumbent Jean-Michel Boucheron easily dominated the first round taking 42.88% to the UMP’s 21.50% and the MoDem’s 11.44%, which was over 10 points lower than Bayrou’s score in the constituency. In the second round, Boucheron took 65%

The second constituency, equally reliable for the Socialists, Philippe Tourtelier was able to lead his UMP rival and perennial candidate of the right to the Rennes mayorship Loïck Le Brun by only 1%, in a constituency where Royal took over 56%. However, in a more favorable day for the PS, Tourtelier easily won re-election taking 56.43%, a few points over Royal’s score in the second round on May 6.

In the third constituency, which elected UMP Philippe Rouault in 2002 but placed Royal in front on the first and second rounds, the left emerged split on the first round, with the 2002 PS candidate Marcel Rogemont leading a dissident candidacy over the official PS candidate Laurence Duffaud. On the first round, Rouault led Rogemont 40% to 25%, with Duffaud taking 12.57% narrowly beating a low MoDem at 8.93% (Bayrou had taken 24.44% here). With a nationwide trend favoring the left on June 17, Rogemont was elected taking 52.75%, and winning by 5.5%, but not matching Royal’s 55% in the constituency.

The fourth constituency, left open by the retirement of long time incumbent and 2002 presidential contender Alain Madelin, voted for Royal in both rounds. Jean-Rene Marsac, the Socialist candidate trailed UMP Loic Aubin on the first round 38-32, but the “pink revival” of the second round led to his election and the end of a UDF-DL-UMP hold on the seat, that had been severely reduced even by 2002, with Madelin only taking 50.62% (compared to 55% in 1997 and 58% in 1993 by the first round). From a mere 15% in 1993, the socialists were able to pick up this seat 14 years later.

In Vitre and the fifth constituency, a stronghold of the Mehaignerie “dynasty”, long time incumbent Pierre Mehaignerie was the only Ille-et-Vilaine incumbent to win re-election by the first round taking 52% to 23% for the Socialist candidate. Vitre was also Bayrou’s best I-et-V constituency, where he took 26.24%, only 4% from 30%. However, the MoDem candidate received only 13.16%.

The surprise on the election came in Fougeres and the surrouding 6th constituency where UMP incumbent Marie-Thérèse Boisseau faced general councillor Thierry Benoit of the MoDem and a Green candidate, Marie-Pierre Rouger, the same Green she had defeated in 2002, by taking 64% to Rouger’s mere 35.9%. Once again, no Socialist candidate was present (there was a Left Radical present however). While Boisseau led the first round with 37.3%, Benoit took 20.2% and qualified for the runoff. The Greens actually increased their share of votes to 18.92% but were shut out of the runoff, because they had scored only 11.67% of registered voters (French electoral law states that a runoff occurs between the candidates receiving over 12.5% of registered voters and not voting voters). Benoit found the votes, most likely from the 19% of Green and 9% of Left Radical voters to defeat Boisseau 55-45.

In the seventh constituency centered around Saint-Malo, the city’s mayor and incumbent Rene Couanau faced 2002 candidate Isabelle Thomas. Unlike in 2002 however, Couanau failed to win re-election by the first round, he did lead the first round heavily with 47% to 24.7% to Thomas and 15% to the MoDem. He was easily re-elected by the second round, Thomas’ local presence not enough for her to take the seat. What is of interest however is the MoDem candidate’s support, with 15% he had the second best MD score in the department. The candidate, mayor of Saint-Pere, a neighboring village actually won his village and surrounding villages but also the canton, likely benefiting from a favorite son factor in the election.

The chart belows compares Bayrou’s score to the actual MD scor, all showing the same pattern of above-average vote for each Bayrou and his party, but the MoDem much lower than Bayrou’s score, trend also seen nationwide, obviously.

Constituency Bayrou % (R1) MoDem % (R1)
1st 22.67 11.44
2nd 23.77 10.09
3rd 24.44 8.93
4th 23.67 11.02
5th 26.24 13.16
6th 23.46 20.21
7th 21.43 15.05
Ille-et-Vilaine 23.80 12.70