Bayrou's Twists and Turns
Those of you who followed the presidential election perhaps remember the "third man", François Bayrou, the centrist candidate whose weight was small but not insignificant. As in all three-party triangles, the third party can determine the run-off election. Bayrou's party at the time was the UDF which he disbanded after the election to form the Democratic Movement, known as MoDem, in opposition to the policies of Nicolas Sarkozy. Not all centrists followed him into the MoDem, preferring instead to form the so-called New Center and to stay within the sphere of Sarkozy's UMP. And so a relatively small party split into two even smaller parties.
Since last Sunday's first round, Bayrou has been playing the role of mercenary, advising his voters in one city to vote UMP, in another to vote PS (Socialist Party), with what many perceive as complete disdain for coherence, consistency or loyalty. Yves Daoudal attempts to summarize Bayrou's tactics:
The ModDem party of François Bayrou only obtained 3.74% of the votes in last Sunday's municipal elections, a disaster for the party of the third presidential candidate (...) And yet the MoDem is galvanizing attention since, in certain cities, it can make the difference between the UMP and Socialist Parties. Above all it is attracting attention by its erratic behavior. To survive it is ready to align itself with almost anybody.
The MoDem did not have candidates in Bordeaux, thus Alain Juppé (UMP) was elected on the first round. To return the favor Alain Juppé, with the forces of UMP behind him, supports François Bayrou in Pau.
Note: The fact that Bayrou was not elected on the first round in Pau did not come as a surprise to many observers. It is felt he will have to make an exceptionally strong showing to beat his socialist opponent. Pau has been run by socialists for almost four decades.
However in Paris, where the Socialist Party is sure to win, MoDem asked to become a part of the mayor's majority party, a request that was disdainfully rejected by socialist Mayor Delanoë who has no need for the few MoDem votes.
Elsewhere the MoDem is merging with the socialists in cities such as Chartres or Poissy, and with UMP in Metz and Colombes.
In Marseilles, both the UMP and the Socialist Party are courting the MoDem voters whose local leader is Jean-Luc Bennahmias. Bennahmias made a moratorium on incinerators the condition by which he would decide which party would get his support. The current UMP mayor of Marseilles refused, while the socialist candidate Guérini has been proposing such a moratorium for a long time. The MoDem therefore merged with the Socialist Party.
Catholic writer Bernard Antony denounces the maneuvers of Bayrou, especially his alliances with the socialists, and is urging voters of Pau not to vote for François Bayrou. He explains:
"(...) I am for the principle that one must never, unless it is a well-reasoned exception, allow the Left to win, since it is almost always worse than the Right in terms of anti-national and anti-Christian hatred. If I ask that François Bayrou be defeated, it is because he represents the worst possible choice, through his repeated refusal of all influence of Christian morality on the laws of the land. He alone, I repeat, protested that fact that the church bells tolled on the death of John Paul II."
Antony's anger is explained perhaps by the fact that Bayrou claims to be a practicing Catholic, and very pro-family. However during the presidential campaign he proved himself to be pro-Muslim as well, and supported the building of mosques. His program was a vague mixture of different trends, but one thing was certain - he was very pro-EU. I posted several articles on Bayrou; this one gives a summary of his policies.