Municipal elections in France: Historic failure for Social-Democratic Left

Published on transform, by Elisabeth Gauthier, April 23, 2014.

The abstention levels of 39% were a record high for municipal elections. They were particularly high in areas most affected by the crisis; in metropolitan communes; among the young; workers; and voters of the Front de Gauche (Left Front) and of the FN (National Front). In addition, almost 3 million potential voters were not registered to vote. 

For the PS (Socialist Party), this is its Waterloo. Of the 160 PS-controlled communes with more than 20,000 residents, the party held on to 82, lost 78 and took 2 from the PCF (French Communist Party) and 2 from the Right. Traditional bastions of support, like Limoges, collapsed. While Lyon and Paris were salvaged, PS control over many metropolitan areas (which are gaining in power compared to towns) is now lost … //

… On the Right, the big winners were the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) and the UDI (Union of Democrats and Independents) which today controls 269 towns with more than 20,000 residents, compared to 187 before the elections. The FN emerges from this election strengthened, having gained control of nine towns with more than 10,000 residents, 4 taken from the Left (in the North) and 5 from the Right (in the South). The porous nature of the relationship between the voters of the Right and the FN was confirmed. The plan of a foundation close to the PS to use the presence of the FN in the second round to mobilise the Left did not work. Overall, the FN, after Sarkozy’s wooing of its voters, has returned to its 1995 level. In the first round it presented lists in 597 towns having garnered 1,033,521 votes (it was 512 towns and 924,000 votes in 1995). The Right, as a whole, is now winning the battle in the streets (after the large demonstrations in 2013) in terms of ideas, in the working-class areas and at the ballot box.

Considering the historic collapse of Social-Democracy and its political stance which could lead to an existential crisis within the PS, the Front de Gauche must urgently rebuild itself (as it has started to do with the march against austerity on 12 April and the agreement on the constitution of lists for the European elections) and innovate its strategy so as to encompass a broader grouping of all those fighting for the politics of the Left.

(full text).


US inciting civil war in Venezuela to get its oil – Bolivia’s Morales, on Russia Today RT, April 24, 2014;

US troops arrive in Poland, Latvia for drills amid rising tensions over Ukraine, on Russia Today RT, April 24, 2014;

US Navy to deploy combat dolphins for Black Sea military drills – report, on Russia Today RT, April 24, 2014;

France: Les élections municipales constituent un échec historique pour la gauche social-démocrate, dans transform, par Elisabeth Gauthier, le 23 Avril 2014: L’abstention a atteint avec 39 % un record historique pour des municipales. Elle est particulièrement forte dans les quartiers les plus touchés par la crise, dans les communes métropolitaines, chez les jeunes, ouvriers et les électeurs du Front de gauche et du FN. Par ailleurs, près de 3 millions d’électeurs potentiels ne sont pas inscrits sur les listes …;

Kommunalwahlen in Frankreich: Historische Niederlage der sozialdemokratischen Linken, auf transform, von Elisabeth Gauthier, 23. April 2014: Die Nichtbeteiligung von 39% stellte ein Rekordhoch für die französischen Kommunalwahlen dar. Besonders hoch war sie bei der Wähler_innenschaft in den städtischen Gebieten, die besonders von der Krise betroffen ist: bei der jungen Bevölkerung, bei Arbeiter_innen und Wähler_innen der Front de Gauche (Linke Front) und der FN (Nationale Front). Darüber hinaus waren beinahe drei Millionen potentielle Wähler_innen nicht im Wahlregister eingetragen …;

New Manual: Claiming ESCR at the United Nations, on ESCR-net, April 21, 2014: The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has launched the new publication “Claiming ESCR at the United Nations: a manual on utilizing the OP-ICESCR in strategic litigation”. This project emerges from the collective efforts of the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group and benefits from its close connections to the NGO Campaign for the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR …; (also in spanish);

National Union of Journalists NUJ;

Scottish Left Review:

  • Issue 81: European March/April 2014: What do the Euro Elections mean for Scotland. With Alexis Tsipras, Michael Keating, Maggie Chapman, Ian Bruff, Bill Paterson and Gary Dunion. Plus a look at the STUC Congress with Grahame Smith, John Duffy on industrial democracy, Mary Senior on universities and Jim and Margaret Cuthbert on the powers of the monarchy …;
    download the pdf, 28 pages;
  • Issue 63: So Much Left and Nowhere to Go, March/April 2011: In this issue Kevin Williamson, Gordon Morgan and Robin McAlpine look at the current state of the left in Scotland, and its prospects if any …;
    download the pdf, 17 pages.

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