The French regional elections prove that the European citizens are tired by the mainstream politicians and political parties. This creates a ground for non-mainstream political movements which are gaining the influence amid the the failed foreign and internal policies of their opponents. The South European separatist movements and the growing influence of the French ‘National Front’ are only first steps of this way.
Originally appeared at Izvestia, translated by Comrade Korolyov exclusively for SouthFront
[Russian] Political observer Pavel Svyatenkov talks about how important it is to come second in the first round of elections.
Anti-immigrant “National Front” achieved victory in the first round of regional elections in France. It is reported, that the Front’s representatives are leading in 6 (out of 13) French regions. Overall, the “National Front” receives 28% of votes in the country, Nicolas Sarozy’s “Republicans” are second with 27%. Lastly, the ruling Socialist Party scored 23%.
A sharp growth in numbers of National Front’s supporters (the party got 11% in the 2010 elections) is connected with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and inability of French officials to offer a coherent strategy to combat terrorists. National Front was a long term opponent of mass migrations into France, warning about the threat these people carry to French identity.
Both main parties of French two-party system, socialists and neogollists, preferred to ignore these warnings, counting on migrants’ assimilation into the French society. However, these hopes were in vain. The instability in the Middle East, that both Sarcozy and Olland had something to do with, boomeranged back onto “fabulous France”. And radical Islamism, supported by raw materials monarchies of the Persian Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, already nested itself in Europe. Evidently, all of National Front’s warnings came true.
Of course, the first round results don’t mean that the party will win in the end and assume power in France. Regional elections are not for that. If no one achieved absolute majority in the first round, a second round is launched. Only those, who scored over 10% of votes get into the second round. The list of politicians that wins first place automatically receives a quarter of all the mandates in the regional gathering, and other statesmen places are selected proportionally.
It’s easy to see, that with such system it is vital, who comes first. This is why the Socialist Party already declared that it will take off its lists in Nor-Pa-de-Cale/Picardia, where “National Front”, led by Marin Le Pen, received 40% of votes. Socialists will also exit the fight in the Provans-Alps-French Riviera region, where Marion Mareshal Le Pen, NF founder’s granddaughter and NF leader’s niece, scored over 40% of votes. She is the rising star of the party and is the only NF politician in the National council.
This way, the neogollists and socialists are going to try to remove NF from leading positions in the second round and not allow it to receive the winning quarter of the votes in the regions. Nicolas Sarcozy, meanwhile, already declared he will not side with the socialists in the second round. Some observers are confused as to why he made that decision, but there is a political motif at play. Sarcozy thinks that a socialist supporter will elect the socialists “just in case” even without Sarcozy’s presence or any arrangements. Sp, is it worth it, to tie oneself down with obligations, if in the case of NF vs the republicans, the latter will automatically receive the leftist votes?
So the main fight for peoples’ minds is still to happen. The republicans will try to remove NF from leading in the regions, where NF is in the lead from the first round. And the biggest struggle will unfold in Nor-Pa-de-Cale/Picardia and in Provans-Alps-French Riviera, where NF and neogollists are going to face off one on one.
Nonetheless, regional elections demonstrate a sharp recovery of the French society. Both main parties cannot offer remedies for the existing problems – migration crisis and terrorist threat. It is clear, that in these conditions NF’s popularity is increasing, because it has solid suggestions and propositions, as well as plans on how to recover the situation. French political elite offers only to unite in front of terrorist acts and “sing something in a choir”, but this methods do not work.
It looks like, unexpectedly primarily for itself, the French society found itself in motion towards an Israeli model of political system. I should remind you, that 20% of all Israeli citizens are Arabs. Arabian language is a state language together with Hebrew. However, even considering that, Arabs are isolated in the political space of the Jewish state. Arab parties are included in the government, but no one ever makes any alliances with them. Israeli community in the last decades took a sharp turn to the right, because only the right winged parties offer military, strong scenarios of fighting the islamist radicals. Leftist solutions here simply don’t work.
The results of the French regional elections demonstrate, that the socialists can lose their status of second strongest political force in the country and turn into neogollists’ junior partners. There are already traces of a new two party system forming with NF on one side, and republicans (with the socialists) in the other. This block, at the moment, appears to be able to stall NF and not let it gain serious positions in the government. However, if the political process will continue in the same direction as it is going in now, NF will have a very good chance to assume power.
At the moment, the regional elections demonstrate to us, how the events can unfold in the upcoming 2017 presidential elections. Marin Le Pen can pass into the second round. And the candidate, that will turn out to be her opponent, will most likely move into the Elysee Palace. It is obvious, that Olland and especially Sarcozy will do all in their power to gain that “victorious” second place in the first round.
Former president Sarcozy will do all he can for his party to become the main benefactor of the rightwards move of the French society. Whether he manages that, we shall see in the second round. Right now, his chances are great. He is able to keep his voters and attract the leftists, who are afraid of NF coming into power. So it is “comrade Nicolas” who could become the main benefactor from the starboard turn of the French political ship.