French Political Earthquake!

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Sun Apr 21 16:02:15 MDT 2002

Alternative wrote:

> First round of Presidential elections held on Sunday, April 21,
> shows: (estimates based on polls, not final results)
> Record abstentionism for a Presidential first round: over 28% did not
> vote.
> Partial collapse of the Gaullist right (Chirac): less than 20% -
> apparently they lost about 14% of the vote in the last two weeks.

I think its always a problem to take opinion polls for the real thing, so it
does not make so much sense to compare recent opinion polls to the actual
result. I think Chirac run in all Presidential elections since 1974 and he
always scored about 20 percent.
Furthermore there have been some other 'respectable' canidates from the
'respectable' right, scoring about 10%

> Collapse of the now bourgeois Socialist Party - they got less than
> 16%. The extreme left was only able to capture few percentage points
> of Socialist voters, a big chunk preferred to abstain.
> Collapse of the reformist Communist Party: less than 4%.  Most of
> their voters shifted their support for Trotskyist candidates
> (especially Laguiller)

This is the decisive result: The complete defeat of the plural (ie
reformist) left and the reconstruction of a revolutionary left. A parellel
development could be seen in Italy with the defeat of the Ulivo and the
stabilisation of PRC.

> Laguiller (Trotskyist), Lutte Ouvriere: 7% - loss 4 percentage points
> in the last two weeks,

Again it makes more sense to compare Arlettes results to previous elections.
>From 2%, to 5% and now over 6%.

> Besancenot (Trotskyist), Ligue Communiste Revolutionarie, LCR, USFI:
> 4% - undercutting Laguiller in the last two weeks.  He called "for a
> front of resistance to fascism" in view of the projected results.

I just saw him on French TV, giving a very combative statement. Saying Le
Pen means the return of Vichy and stands for mass murder.
Compared to him Arlette was very sober, basically blaming Jospin for his own
defeat. She mentioned realistically that LO and LCR appeal to different

> Gluckstein (Trotskyist), Lambertists: collapsed at 0.5% (the most
> reformist of the three Trotskyist candidates)

Collapsed from what?

> The estimates of the results also clearly show that a united
> electoral front of the existent left (Trotskyists and CP) could have
> competed for the second position with great possibilities
> (fragmented, they got over 14% of the vote.)

A mere numerical addition does not make a common political platform. Not
even the LCR and LO could agree on a common canidate. The CP is part of the
French government, the very idea of the 'plural' left Arlette vehemently
opposed, the LCR mildly criticised.


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