The election race has finally finished in France, as the second round of elections to the National Assembly took place yesterday. As was expected, the right-wing union for the presidential majority was a sure winner. According to the provisional data, Jacques Chirac’s followers won from 360 to 378 seats in the Legislative Assembly (over 60%), the socialists won from 153 to 165 seats (about 24%), the Communists won 21 seats, and the “greens” won only three. The key sensation of the elections this time is that Jean-Marie Le Pen's party failed to win a single seat in the parliament.
In addition, Le Pen once again disgraced analysts. Many experts expected that Le Pen’s success during the presidential election meant reasonable success in the parliamentary elections as well. However, nothing of this kind occurred. Only one National Front politician held a seat in the previous National Assembly, but the far-right will not be represented in the new parliament. At the same time, it is not a moment to speak about the "triumph" of democracy. The far-right easily succeed during the elections to the European parliament, where the election system is not so intricate as France’s Legislative Assembly.
On the whole, the victory of right-wing forces was rather predictable. After an unconvincing speech of socialist leader Lionel Jospin, a crisis in the Socialist Party started at once. The problem with the party is that it has got not a single charismatic leader like Francois Mitterand. Lionel Jospin, former socialist leader and ex-candidate to the presidential post, failed to win the people’s sympathy for the reason he was a boring man and politician. On the contrary, his political rival Jacques Chirac is not boring at all, not to mention Le Pen.
The results of the elections were mostly influenced by a promise made by Jacques Chirac during the presidential campaign. He promised to start a war against criminality and illegal immigration. Many voters trusted him and voted for the right; in a word, Chirac surpassed Le Pen in the latter’s area. The demands of the times are such that the promise is to be fulfilled. Such strict actions could hardly be expected from the left-wing forces. At the same time, we should not overestimate the degree of the union for presidential majority’s victory, as 38% of voters failed to vote in the elections last Sunday. This is the lowest appearance rate over the whole history of France.
Therefore, the five years that right and left forces were both represented in the parliament are over; now the posts of president and prime minister, as well as the parliamentary majority, belong to the right-wing forces. Jacques Chirac has a nice opportunity to start reforms concerning the struggle with criminality, tax reduction, and the economic sector. However, the rightists are the only ones who will be guilty if the reforms fail. Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/06/17/42744.html