Ruling UMP loses to left-wing amid high abstention in France's regional election

19:26, March 22, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 


France's President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves the polling booth before casting his ballot at a Paris polling station in the second round of regional elections March 21, 2010. Sarkozy's centre-right UMP party is due to face heavy losses in regional elections on Sunday that could affect the pace of reform as manoeuvring begins before the 2012 presidential campaign.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Besides a record high abstention, the French ruling central-right party has to endure a near-wipeout in the runoff of the regional election on Sunday as initial results showed that the opposition left-wing took over all but one of 22 regions in metropolitan France.

As the latest polls closed doors at 8:00 p.m., exit polls by the pollster the OpinionWay presented that the opposition Socialist-led left-wing finally took over Corsica, just missing Alsace for a "grand slam."

Corsica and Alsace are the only two strongholds of the ruling UMP-led right-wing in 2004's regional election.

In the second round, the left-wing parties have won 54.3 percent of the vote, while the UMP, President Nicolas Sarkozy's party, just garnered 36.1 percent.

The far-right National Front won 8.7 percent in the runoff, less than the surprisingly good result of 11.42 percent in the first round, but enough to heal the trauma it suffered from the European election last year, during which less than 6 percent of voters cast for it.

The Greens party, known as Europe Ecologie, garnered 12.18 percent of votes in the first round, taking the third rank only after the leading Socialist and ruling UMP.

As the emerging political power promoted by last year's European election, the Greens has agreed to ally with the Socialist in the second round but aims for a bigger role at the future stage.

Compared with the last regional election six years ago, much more voters preferred staying at home than showing their power to reshape regional councilors.

Latest data presented that the participation rate reached 50.5 percent in the runoff, higher than the historical low of 46 percent in the first round but still well below the record-high 65 percent in the 2004 regional election.


A young girl offers a flower to France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (L) as they leave a Paris polling station after voting in the second round of regional elections March 21, 2010. Sarkozy's centre-right UMP party is due to face heavy losses in regional elections on Sunday that could affect the pace of reform as manoeuvring begins before the 2012 presidential campaign.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

This regional election, the last massive one before 2012 presidential election, is widely regarded as a referendum and opinion test for Sarkozy's administration, as it occurred at the mid-term of his presidency and 19 ministers are standing for election.

Two days before Sunday runoff, French pollster BVA reflected in a survey that 57 percent people held a view that the UMP should reshuffle the cabinet and 37 percent even suggested to change the prime minister.

Although Sarkozy ruled out cabinet reshuffle before the election, "modest" and "technical" modification to formation of ministers was confirmed by President's General Secretary Claude Gueant during an exclusive interview published by French newspaper Le Croix on Saturday.

Actually, right after the initial result emerged, the Elysee Palace said that the president would summon Prime Minister Francois Fillon Monday around 9:00 a.m. to assess the results of the regional election.


France's President Nicolas Sarkozy casts his ballot at a Paris polling station in the second round of regional elections March 21, 2010. Sarkozy's centre-right UMP party is due to face heavy losses in regional elections on Sunday that could affect the pace of reform as manoeuvring begins before the 2012 presidential campaign.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Socialist leader Martine hailed the "unprecedented victory for the left," attributing righ-wing's loss to public's anger towards current ruling of the president and central government.

However, regional councils' function focuses on local development such as schools building, local transport renovation, and Sarkozy still has half way to go to test his national reform, thus it seems a little early to answer to what extent the left parties can use the regional victory to challenge Sarkozy.

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Qutan Temple: imperial palace of NW China
  • APEX snaps close-up of star factories in distant universe
  • Law of the jungle: how egret eats a mouse alive
  • Amazing NASA-style photos captured by camera with balloon
  • Never-seen-before colour photos of Marilyn Monroe to be auctioned
  • Photos: Thinnest world's buildings
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion