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French Locals 2008: Picardie, Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Picardie (PS/DVG +4)

Aisne: The left-wing gain didn’t come from Laon, which stayed on the right with 54.2% by the first round for the UMP, but instead from Soissons (2nd largest city), where the PS prevailed with 56.9%. The largest city, Saint-Quentin, a UMP stronghold, was easily held by the UMP, which took 60.8% in the first round. In a entirely left-wing race in Tergnier between the DVG (GDR member) deputy Jacques Desallangre and the PS, Desallangre won with 67.8% by the first round. The real race in Chateau-Thierry was also left-left, with a DVG candidate defeating the PS mayor by the first round. Total PS +1

Oise: Generally right-wing, the right held all but one of its positions in the department. In Compiegne, the UMP was re-elected with 65.8% by the first round. In Beauvais, Caroline Cayeux (UMP) held her seat with over 58% in the runoff. A DVD candidate won the race in Senlis to replace the retiring right-wing incumbent. He defeated the UMP by about 4%, and the left trailed far behind with about 15%. For the PS, they held Creil, and gained Noyon (where the incumbent, UMP, was retiring) in a close DVG-UMP-FN runoff. Total DVG +1

Somme: Unknown by about 50% of the city a month before, Gilles Demailly came from behind in Amiens and won a stunning upset over the NC incumbent, former Education Minister Gilles de Robien. Pollsters got it dead wrong, even in their last poll. Demailly came out on top of the (small) gang in the first round, with 41.4% against 38.9% for de Robien. The LCR provided him with a formidable vote reservoir, the LCR candidate had taken 6.4%. The MoDem took 5.8%. The LCR and LO likely went massively for Demailly and MoDem voters also preferred the Socialist to the former UDF mayor- Demailly took a surprisingly large 56.2% in the runoff. In addition to Amiens, the left gained Abbeville with almost 60% against the UMP, which had trouble taking the votes from two strong DVD lists in the first round. The UMP is left with Albert, which it held with about 66%. To add to the rout of the NC-UMP in the municipal election, the left gained the departmental presidency from the NC. Total PS +2

Nord-Pas-de-Calais (=)

Nord: A cruel blow to the Nord UMP came in Tourcoing, where the UMP had believed in its good chance to gain the Lille suburb and take the Lille area council with it. It didn’t, and by a lot. Firstly, the candidate didn’t exactly held. Christian Vanneste, an homophobic CNIP (UMP associate) deputy had won the UMP’s endorsement, but not without controversy. The PS won the city by the first round, a first in Tourcoing. The Socialists took 53.6% against a mere 30.7% for Vanneste. The MoDem came in third, surprisingly, with 8.5%, while the FN took 7.3%. In Lille, the PS incumbent Martine Aubry was comfortably re-elected, with over 66% in the runoff. She had previously rallied the Greenies (11.6%) and the centrists (7.8%). In the other Lille suburb, Roubaix, a solid leftist city, the PS mayor RenĂ© Vandierendonck dominated the runoff, with over 55%. The UMP took a little 26.5%, with the Greenies not far behind on 18.1%. In Dunkerque, the Socialist Michel Delebarre won by the first round, with 57.5% largely defeating the UMP candidate. The FN, the MoDem, and the Trots also qualified for seats. The other major leftist city, Maubeuge, stayed with the PS by the first round. The UMP held its 3 major cities. In Valenciennes, where the UMP-NC list had the originality of having two cabinet ministers (Letard and Borloo), the UMP won by the first round, with 55.5%. The PS and PCF were in the same percentile ranges, far behind the right. Even larger margin in Cambrai, with 66.2% for the right by the first round. It was closer in Douai, but still to the advantage of the UMP, which took 53.5% in the runoff.

Pas-de-Calais: No cigar for the PS in Arras, where the MoDem held the city by the first round, with 51.24% against 33.9% for the PS. The Greenies also did well. The left held Lens, with 48.4% in a confusing 5-way PS-UMP-DVG-DVG-LCR runoff. The PS incumbent in Bethune lost the runoff narrowly to a DVG candidate. The PS trounced opposition in Boulogne-sur-Mer, once again, with over 71% for the PS by the first round there. In Saint-Omer, the right was defeated by the left, which took 57.8% in the runoff. However, the right avenged the loss by a more impressive gain, from the PCF, in Calais. Natacha Bouchart, UMP, defeated the PCF, in power for 37 years, with 54.02%. She likely took many FN votes from the first round. Talking of the FN, Le Pen’s carpetbagging daughter, Marine, running in Henin-Beaumont under the FN list, was trounced. The UMP was eliminated by the first round, its little 5% not allowing its qualification. The unpopular Socialist incumbent faced a runoff against not only Le Pen & company but a former Socialist, running as the “Republican Alliance”. The PS took 51.9% in the runoff, the FN far behind with 28.83% (up only 0.3% since the first round). The DVG-AR took 19.23%.

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