The Strategist

Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP Topped the First Round of French Departmental Elections

03/23/2015 - 19:03

The National Front party suffered a surprising setback in French local elections.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP Topped the First Round of French Departmental Elections

The first round of French local elections took place amidst increasing tension about the nation’s sluggish economy and rising unemployment. France’s Socialist party witnessed a setback as the right-wing alliance led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy emerged as the winner with highest votes during the first round of French local elections. Moreover, there was a sigh of relief across the nation as Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration party failed to make its way to the top. 

Mr. Sarkozy’s UMP party performed better than the predictions of opinion polls and the results clearly indicated that the voters are discontent with the Socialist government. The results of first round of French departmental elections that included 101 local jurisdictions pointed out the remarkable change in political landscape of France, in just midway of the French President François Hollande’s five year term.
The outcome of the elections was a surprising setback for the high hopes of Le Pen to push her anti-immigrant as well as anti-euro party to the lead. Despite failing to attain the top position, the Front National party has reported strong gains as compared to the previous elections. The party’s agenda was to return back to Franc, significant drop in immigration levels and votes on capital punishment. All this signals that the France politics is experiencing a notable transition from left to right and central parties.
The election results have boosted the confidence of Mr. Sarkozy, who was replaced by François Hollande in 2012. Mr. Sarkozy took the decision for political comeback previous year and secured the leadership of UMP party. He battled to reassert himself and even convinced the French people that he is the ultimate political leader that France requires at this point of economic stagnation. Astonishingly, his party’s strong score in the first round came out as a relief and thereby increased Mr. Sarkozy’s chances to move ahead for the presidential election of 2017.

Consequently, in the first round of voting, the evident loser was the Socialist party of Mr. Hollande that secured even less than 20%. Most opinion polls projected that Ms. Le Pen’s party would win minimum 30% votes, higher than 25% votes that she secured in the European Parliament Elections of 2014. Mr. Sarkozy grabbed almost 30% votes thereby leaving the National Front behind. As anticipated, the Socialist party stood third, highlighting their unpopularity after failure to keep up their promise to pull down unemployment from the current levels.
Besides, the name change from “cantonal” (denotes a geographical region) to “departmental”, the upcoming French elections are transforming the methods of voting. French elections this time have implemented a new voting system, in which voters are selecting candidates in pairs including one man and one woman rather than only selecting a single candidate. This is one of the measures taken to enforce greater gender equality in France politics.

However, with a strong lead in the first round elections, Mr. Sarkozy’s party is set towards a victory in the second round of voting, which will be taking place on 29 March.