Absolute Power

As anticipated, the Socialists secured a comfortable majority in the National Assembly last Sunday, enabling them to govern without relying on recalcitrant partners such as the Greens or the far left. With the Senate, the Presidency and the regional governments under their control, what perils lie in store for a party with what is being described as a “hyper-majority”?

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The End of the Election

Thankfully for the much harassed French voter, the election season draws to a close tomorrow evening at 8pm, when the polls close in the second and final round of the legislative elections. It has been a whirlwind two months, with the Presidential election turfing out a one term President and replacing him with a party out of power in the executive branch since 1995. Now with the Socialists poised to take power in the legislature, where does that leave the country and the main parties? Continue reading

First Round, First Headaches

Last night’s long-awaited first round of the French legislative elections has produced a largely expected result. Now that the dust has settled, we can begin to look at the results in more detail, and ultimately to assess their meaning. In particular, the Monday morning quarterbacking has begun on what the results of the first round will mean for the all-important second-round this coming Sunday. Continue reading

The Invisible Campaign

The official campaign for the French legislative elections comes to a close at midnight tonight (there is an electioneering-free 24 hours before the vote itself on Sunday – designed, in an elegantly civilized way, to give voters some “thinking time”). You, and any other French voters, would be forgiven for not realising the campaign had ever started. That is because this legislative campaign has been particularly absent from the public gaze.

But why, after such a an impassioned presidential campaign, has the legislative campaign flopped so badly? Is it voting fatigue, or something else which tells us about the way that the French choose their legislators, as opposed to their new president? Continue reading