A few days ago I posted an article about Muriel Coativy, who is running for deputy in the 12th voting district of the department of le Rhône, and I made the following statement:
If you are surprised that there are eleven political parties, this is not unusual in the first round of elections in France. Everybody gets their little bit of glory, then it comes down to two winners.
I made that statement a bit carelessly thinking that it was like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics where each nation gets its time to march, followed by the endurance tests that apply to only a few gifted souls. However, Muriel has corrected me. Here is her explanation of the legislative elections:
Concerning the elections, it is important to note that there can be three candidates in the second round. They call it a "triangulaire". In order to make it to the second round you must receive a number of votes equal to 12.5% of registered voters (or more than 19% of the votes assuming a 40% abstention rate). At one time you needed 12.5% of the votes, but they changed it to 12.5% of registered voters in order to put obstacles in the path of the Front National, as always. The FN expects 200 "triangulaires" out of 577 voting districts. Enough for the UMP to burst apart. In my district nothing is decided as of now. It is not a sure bet we'll win because it is a rather bourgeois district but I am known and valued in my district ("commune") and several cities are veering to the Left. The evening of the 10th we shall see.
If there are 11 candidates, it is because in France the financing of the political parties is determined only in the legislative elections. Each vote in the first round brings in about 1.60 euro to the party per year for five years. Many unknown smaller parties become visible just to try to get a little bit of financial autonomy to exist. For the FN, the results are also very important because our "defeat" in the 2007 legislative elections had ruined the party. We have to return to financial health. This then is what is motivating all of us: each vote will bring 1.60 euro x 5 to our political movement. But we mustn't allow ourselves to be fooled. Everything today points to bipartisanism. The press deliberately refrains from speaking about the legislative elections in order to place the spotlight on the UMPS.
Note: The first round of the legislative elections sound almost like a fundraiser. And apparently there is no other source of funding? No corporate or private donations as we have here? You can read about campaign finance in the United States at Wikipedia, but I must admit, it's rather complex.
French readers will find several articles of interest on the homepage of Muriel Coativy's website.
Labels: Election 2012, Electoral Procedures, Muriel Coativy