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
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail