Monday, June 18, 2007

Not a landslide but good enough

It was not the predicted landslide for the UMP but a good enough result. Frankly, that landslide never seemed very likely as it did not echo the presidential election results.

On a far lower turn-out of only 60 per cent (resembling our elections nowadays) the French voted the UMP government back in with 314 seats out of 577. The Socialists won 185, quite a respectable result all things considered. Undoubtedly, their campaign on the possible higher sales tax (I presume, it is what we call VAT) has paid some dividends.

For the first time since the early 1980s the existing government has retained its mandate.

In fact, the UMP now has fewer seats than it had in the last parliament but there are 22 more in the hands of their allies. The Socialists have gained more seats, going up from 149 to 185. So everybody is happy.

Well, not quite. Alain Juppé is not happy. Sarkozy had brought him back from political exile whither he has been banished again by losing his seat and having to resign from the cabinet. It seems even the French electorate is losing its patience with those endless financial scandals.

The others who are unhappy are that political couple Ségolène Royal and François Hollande. It seems that the two are parting after 25 years together. This being French politics, Mme Royal is announcing this momentous news in a book that is due out this week, though there has been a good deal of speculation about M Hollande's alleged affair in the media. In fact, the Royal-Hollande menage has been staple food for journalists and gossip columnists in France for some time, putting even our own hacks to shame.


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