French local elections:
Voters reject Sarkozy party
FRANCE: Voters rebuffed French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s
party in local elections Sunday that saw the Socialists and the far
right gain ground ahead of next year’s presidential vote.
The Socialist Party (PS) collected 36 percent in the second round of
a poll to choose councillors in France’s 100 departments, according to
official provisional results.
That outstripped Sarkozy’s UMP party on 20 percent; and the far-right
National Front (FN) on 12 percent.
But the vote was marred by a low turnout, with only 46 percent of
those eligible to vote having done so, according to the partial results
from the interior ministry.
Socialist party leader Martine Aubry’s speech to euphoric supporters
gathered at the party headquarters in Paris, suggested the Presidential
campaign had already started.
“Today I am conscious of our duty of victory in 2012 for France and
for the French,” she told supporters.
The party would next week unveil fresh plans to get the country back
on its feet, she announced.
“Our determination is total to show that another France is possible,”
For Francois Hollande, another leading Socialist, the writing was on
the wall for the French President.
“The lesson I draw from this vote is that the Nicolas Sarkozy page
has been turned. The people of France want a new time, a new cycle,” he
Both Aubry and Hollande are seen as possible contenders for the
Socialist candidacy for the presidency.
But opinion polls still suggest that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the
current head of the International Monetary Fund, would be the strongest
Socialist candidate, should he make a run.
Sarkozy’s UMP party made the best of bad night.
“In a context rendered difficult by two years of crisis, the
candidates of the right and the centre have resisted well,” said Prime
Minister Francois Fillon. Paris, Monday, AFP