FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Who Wants Sarko?

by DIANA JOHNSTONE

 

The Anglo-American media view Sarkozy’s showing(over 31 per cent of the vote, compared to slightly under 26 per cent for Ségolène Royal in the April 22 first round) as evidence that a new France may finally be seeing the light and turning away from the stultifying “French model” to the freedom-loving example embodied by Britain and the United States. The final round is on May 6.

An examination of exit polls showing social composition and motives of the April 22 electorate suggests a very different interpretation. The pro-Sarko electorate is not the new, dynamic freedom-loving France. That France voted mostly for Ségolène Royal. The Sarko France is aging and scared.

Among voters aged 18 to 24, 34 per cent voted for the Socialist woman candidate. Twenty percent voted for centrist François Bayrou and only 19 per cent voted for Sarkozy (who is not, as English-language reports persist in calling him, a “Gaullist” ; “Bushist” would be more accurate.
Sarkozy’s largest block of voters were retired people. He won 44 per cent of the electorate over 65.

Asked which issue was paramount in their choice, 46 per cent of Ségolène’s voters express their concern for “social inequalities”, and 66 per cent want to live in a society “with more personal freedom”. Sarko voters are indifferent to those themes, but give first place to “the fight against insecurity”; 88 per cent demand a society “with more order and authority”. And 26 per cent of Sarkozy voters favor “the struggle against immigration”, compared to only 5 per cent of Royal voters.

These figures suggest a Sarkozyan France trembling at its shadow, easily taken in by the fake “authority” of a hyper-ambitious fast talker whose reign as Minister of the Interior has actually seen a rise in incidents of acts of violence against persons, but who juggles statistics and strikes poses to convey the notion that he is a nemesis of crime.

Another conceit of the international media is to congratulate Sarkozy for reducing the vote of Le Pen. This is like congratulating the wooden horse for keeping the Greeks out of Troy. A million Le Pen voters–the most reactionary in particular, those on the Riviera and in Alsace–quite reasonably switched to Sarkozy as the candidate who could actually get into office and carry out his reactionary promises–something Le Pen could never do.

Ségolène got slighter fewer women’s votes than Sarkozy, but this is easily explained by demographics. Women make up a majority of the over-65 electorate, which is particularly large in France–which enjoys the world’s longest life expectancy, especially for women.

After the aged, Sarkozy did best among artisans and business people, followed by management and the top professions : categories traditionally on the right, in hope of lowering taxes. But Ségolène led Sarkozy among intermediary professions and white collar workers, as well as blue collar workers–but in the last category, Le Pen came in first with 26 per cent — by far his highest score in any category (Le Pen got 10.5 per cent of the national vote).

By beating off a strong challenge from the centrist candidate François Bayrou, who won 18.5 per cent, Ségolène Royal did better than her disgruntled Socialist rivals expected, and especially better than the 2002 Socialist Party candidate Lionel Jospin, whose miserable showing was responsible for the fluke of Le Pen coming in second for the runoff. Her score was roughly equal to that of François Mitterrand in the first round in 1981, on his way to victory. But in 1981, Mitterrand could count on a large reserve of left-wing second round votes, notably from the Communist Party.

This time, the far left vote collapsed. Its electorate, frightened by the 2002 precedent, chose the “useful” vote for Ségolène in the first round. So although all the little left candidates have endorsed Ségo–including the veteran Trotskyist Arlette Laguiller, who in the past always refused to choose between “blanc bonnet et bonnet blanc” (Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee)–their votes add up to only about 11 more percentage points for the Socialist candidate.

Obviously, both candidates will now try to woo Bayrou’s voters. Polls indicate Sarkozy has the advantage. After running the final days of the first half of his campaign far to the right, to win National Front votes, he has instantly shifted his line to the left to fish in Bayrou’s waters. Sarko’s election night speech sounded as if his speech-writers had written it for Ségolène–all full of concern for people, whoever they might be.

Today, the unsurprising news arrived that Sergio Berlusconi endorses Sarkozy. Eric Besson, a Socialist turncoat who abandoned Ségolène in mid-campaign to go over to Sarko, complete with a book blasting Mme Royal, is now spokeman for his “left wing”. He led off the second round campaign with a speech in which he exclaimed “Forza Sarko !”
The notion of France with its very own Berlusconi is, for many, a ghastly prospect indeed.

Anyway, Boris Yeltsin has not lived to add his voice to the French campaign for “shock treatment reform”.

[Next: Sarkozy’s false “security”.]

DIANA JOHNSTONE can be reached at dianajohnstone@compuserve.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Minute Musings: On Why the United States Should Launch a Tomahawk Strike on Puerto Rico
Tom Clifford
The Return of “Mein Kampf” … in Japan
Todd Larsen
Concerned About Climate Change? Change Where You Bank!
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Brexit: Britain’s Opening to China?
John Hutchison
Everything Old is New Again: a Brief Retrospectus on Korea and the Cold War
Michael Brenner
The Ghost in the Dream Machine
Yves Engler
The Military Occupation of Haiti
Christopher Brauchli
Guardians of Lies
James Preece
How Labour Can Win the Snap Elections
Cesar Chelala
Preventing Disabilities in the Elderly
Sam Gordon
From We Shall Overcome to Where Have all the Flowers Gone?
Charles Thomson
It’s Still Not Too Late to Deserve Your CBE, Chris Ofili
Louis Proyect
Documentaries That Punch
Charles R. Larson
Review: Vivek Shanbhag’s “Ghachar Ghochar”
David Yearsley
Raiding the Tomb of Lubitsch
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail