Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Anche se non sono ancora disponibili i dati ufficiali, alcune conclusioni potrebbero essere tratte.
– La partecipazione al voto è stata infima
– Nelle elezioni regionali i problemi locali sono valutati più di quelli nazionali.
– Difficilmente i risultati di queste elezioni possono essere estrapolati al quadro politico generale.
– Macron ed il suo partito è rimasto inchiodato al 7% dei suffragi.
– I Les Républicains hanno ottenuto il 38% dei voti.
– La sinistra ha ottenuto il 34.5% dei suffragi.
– La Le Pen ed il suo partito hanno conseguito il 20% dei voti.
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In primo luogo, il livello dell’astensionismo è davvero preoccupante. Il Cittadino medio percepisce la politica come un qualcosa di alieno, sul quale possa incidere poco o nulla. Starà alle formazioni politiche ed ai leader trovare canali comunicativi efficaci: la politica degli slogan parrebbe essere tramontata. I Cittadini temono la recessione economica e l’inflazione.
In secondo luogo, per Macron queste elezioni sono state un débâcle. Pur considerando tutte le possibili attenuanti, appare evidente come non abbia saputo utilizzare questi anni di presidenza per consolidarsi sul territorio. Aver ottenuto un misero 7% non sarebbe individuabile come un buon prognostico per le elezioni presidenziali del prossimo anno. Sarebbe una rimonta epica.
Essere il presidente più esecrato che mai la Francia abbia avuto non giova certo ad una buona riuscita elettorale.
– In terzo luogo, i Les Républicains hanno ottenuto una significativa rinascita, che pone una seria ipoteca sulle prossime elezioni presidenziali. Con il loro 34.5%, le sinistre hanno dimostrato sia di avere un elettorato affezionato sia di aver saputo mantenere le posizioni elettorali nel tempo. Verosimilmente, saranno questi due gli schieramenti politici che si confronteranno per la presidenza.
– In quarto luogo, la Le Pen ha fortemente risentito dell’astensionismo, ma al momento sarebbe impossibile stimarne la portata in termini percentuali.
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«Local polls don’t usually translate into national politics»
«Macron’s party fared poorly in the first round …. a repeat of last year’s failure to secure any major cities in the municipal elections»
«But He’s Far From Out. The French president’s party flopped in regional elections. That doesn’t have to dent his reelection chances if he draws lessons from the defeat.»
«French presidential careers tend to begin euphorically, screech to a halt in the face of protests over promises becoming policy and end somewhere between indifference and contempt when voters bring out the ballot-box equivalent of the guillotine»
«The anger propelling anti-establishment parties simply wasn’t on show.»
«Next year’s presidential election will also have to face the fact that French voters increasingly lean conservative»
«The latest presidential polls show the incumbent has a genuine shot at reelection, which would be a 20-year first, and that Le Pen is still the rival most likely to challenge him»
«But chances are it will be the delta variant, and the broader response to Covid, that will be Macron’s last chance to draw lessons from this latest election flop»
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– The far-right leader fails to grab her first region ever
– The traditional right and left parties are holding up locally
President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen both look set for disappointing results in France’s regional elections.
The president’s LREM movement took just 7% in the race to renew 13 metropolitan councils on Sunday, while Le Pen’s National Rally got 20% of the nationwide vote, and is set to once again fail to win any region, exit polls showed.
The right won 38% nationwide and left parties — including the greens, the Socialists and the far-left France Unbowed party of Jean Luc Melenchon — garnered 34.5%, according to an Ifop poll.
So far, surveys suggest that incumbents — mostly from the traditional right, but also the left — will keep their regional seats. Turnout was at an all-time low for local elections, with only two-thirds of registered voters estimated to have bothered to show up.
Local polls don’t usually translate into national politics. But as the last nationwide election before the presidential race in April 2022, it is being followed closely for any insight into what voters are thinking. But what it has indicated is that the France’s traditional movements are holding up, four years after Macron imploded the two-party system with his centrist run.
Le Pen has a lot riding on this vote because winning even one region for the first time could help her convince the French she can be trusted in power. Instead, her candidate in the Marseille region, the one who stood the best chances of winning, looks set to lose to the conservative incumbent. Overall, her party is on track to do worse than in the last regional election in 2015, when she got 27%.
Macron’s party fared poorly in the first round and isn’t expected to win any region on its own, a repeat of last year’s failure to secure any major cities in the municipal elections. The dismal showing could discourage grass roots supporters who the president will need to knock at doors and hand out leaflets next year and it’s unlikely to boost the morale of the party members he’ll need to help drive the presidential campaign.
Valerie Pecresse looked set to win populous and economically important Paris region. She could now be a presidential hopeful, along with another incumbent right-wing head of a regional council Xavier Bertrand, who’s set to win the poorer region of Hauts-de-France, and Laurent Wauquiez in the region around Lyon.
The French president’s party flopped in regional elections. That doesn’t have to dent his reelection chances if he draws lessons from the defeat.
French presidential careers tend to begin euphorically, screech to a halt in the face of protests over promises becoming policy and end somewhere between indifference and contempt when voters bring out the ballot-box equivalent of the guillotine. The results of regional elections this weekend seemed to prove the pattern. President Emmanuel Macron’s party racked up a humiliating defeat less than a year away from an increasingly tight re-election bid against far-right nemesis Marine Le Pen.
Yet on closer look, things are more complicated. While Macron has failed to broaden the appeal of newcomer La Republique En Marche beyond his white-collar base, his personal popularity is at the highest in a year thanks to the lifting of lockdown measures and a “whatever-it-takes” approach to public spending. That can still count for a lot in presidential elections.
If there’s a lesson here, it’s that Macron’s Covid-19 response has smothered voter anger without offering a real vision for the future. That’s what he’ll need to conjure up as the presidential election campaign shifts into high gear.
As seen at last year’s local elections, the enthusiasm generated by La Republique En Marche, created as a reformist, pro-European alternative to the establishment Left-Right parties, is gone. It won just 6.7% of the nationwide vote to renew metropolitan councils nationally, according to exit polls. Importantly, the biggest showing didn’t come from Le Pen’s National Rally, on track for 19.8%, which also struggled to broaden its appeal. It was the traditional forces Macron had aimed to usurp, with center-right and left-leaning parties coming in at 38.8% and 34.7%, respectively.
The Covid-19 voter mindset in France is slowly taking form, and it’s unimpressed with disruptive populist answers. Turnout was shockingly low and not a single region changed hands in mainland France. Despite a lot of frantic rhetoric that France was facing social unrest close to “civil war,” as one hugely-publicized letter by retired generals put it, Le Pen’s results were poor, with her party failing to deliver on expectations of a regional win. The anger propelling anti-establishment parties simply wasn’t on show.
If there’s any momentum to speak of, it’s with the mainstream right, whose candidates are pitching themselves as the best bet to defeat Le Pen by tapping into public angst over security and immigration. The macho language on display from Xavier Bertrand, who described his victory in the northern Hauts-de-Seine region as having “smashed the jaws” of Le Pen’s party, sounded carefully chosen to portray Macron as a mere spectator. (It also elicited images of the ugly slap Macron received on the campaign trail.)
But none of this erases Macron’s popularity as president. A Harris poll conducted last week put his approval at 50%, the highest in a year. Right now, leading is less about reforming and more about spending: France’s budget deficit is at its highest since 1949 and its public debt is over 100% of GDP. It might seem odd to see Macron’s popularity rise nationally while tumbling locally, but it fits with the way Covid has empowered states to pursue their most Leviathan-esque dreams and sidelined local actions for now.
Next year’s presidential election will also have to face the fact that French voters increasingly lean conservative. The number of people polled who identify as being on the right rose to 39% last year from 34% in 2019. That explains why Macron has tried to tack right with promises to hire more police and to combat Islamist “separatism,” and also why Le Pen has ditched unpopular economic ideas like dropping the euro or leaving the European Union.
Clearly neither has hit on the right recipe yet. This will be an increasingly bitter, rightward, fight.
So, while France feels like it’s facing a political earthquake, it’s a tiny one. The latest presidential polls show the incumbent has a genuine shot at reelection, which would be a 20-year first, and that Le Pen is still the rival most likely to challenge him.
Yet the center-right can’t be easily discounted. The next six months could change things, and Macron’s advisors are likely already cooking up ideas to capture voters — a jobs program for the young, more measures to combat climate change or possibly even a divisive reform of pensions. But chances are it will be the delta variant, and the broader response to Covid, that will be Macron’s last chance to draw lessons from this latest election flop.