A Blue Wave
As of 2:00 a.m. Paris time there is little doubt that Nicolas Sarkozy will win a crushing parliamentary majority next Sunday in the second round of legislative elections. Today's first round resulted in an undeniable victory for UMP candidates throughout France. Here is a summary from Yahoo:
(...) The UMP party obtained 39.54% of the votes and along with its affiliated parties ought to win between 383 and 501 seats out of 577 in the National Assembly after the second round next June 17.
Note: The figure of 577 is the number of seats at stake, not the total number of seats in the Assembly.
The Socialist Party, the main opposition with 24.73% of the votes, should, along with its affiliated parties, win between 60 and 170 seats. The incumbent deputies totaled 359 from UMP and 149 socialists.
One hundred five deputies were elected or re-elected on the first round, among them one leftist.
Note: This means that they obtained more than 50% of the vote in the first round, so they are spared a second round.
If the second round confirms the trend, Mr. Sarkozy will have a free hand in legislating the reforms he promised the French people.
The new National Assembly, elected for 5 years, like the president, will be called into a special session on June 26 to begin examining several key texts, notably on fiscal issues and security. (...)
Sunday's voting was marked by a record number of abstentions, almost 40%, whereas the presidential election had aroused great interest.
The Minister of the Economy, Jean-Louis Borloo, easily re-elected in the first round, as was Prime Minister François Fillon, said he felt that the French people, including those on the Left, wanted to give the new government its chance to work harmoniously with Parliament.
The big victory of the Right was expected: all the polls had predicted a "blue wave", the color of UMP.
For Mr. Sarkozy, 52, who has been enjoying a "state of grace" in the opinion of the public since May 6, when he defeated Ségolène Royal with 53% of the votes, it is already a new personal victory since he had been deeply involved in the battle.
Analysts say that the UMP victory will be total if it goes beyond the figure of 400 seats in the Assembly.
Besides the Socialist Party, the UMP party and the new "New Center" party that rallied to Sarkozy, the other political groups seem likely to be crushed in the second round. Not one of them is expected to attain the threshold of 20 deputies, the number needed to have an autonomous group in the Assembly.
Note: The "New Center" refers to those members of François Bayrou's old UDF party who rallied to Sarkozy. Bayrou himself formed the so-called "Modem" (Democratic Movement) but not all of his former colleagues went along with him. Instead some rallied to UMP, calling themselves the New Center.
This can get confusing and frustrating. The French form and re-form parties at will, and they keep giving them names that all sound alike. It's a wonder the voters have any idea who or what they're voting for!
The French system of voting assures an over-representation on the national level of the victorious party. (...)
The illustration from Le Figaro shows the estimated number of seats in the National Assembly for the various factions. This will no doubt be confirmed next Sunday. A reminder that PCF is the French Communist Party, PS the Socialist Party, Verts the Green Party, and MoDem the Democratic Movement.