France’s first cycle of municipal elections left Socialists defeated throughout the country. France’s far right political party the National Front headed by Marine Le Pen gained headway throughout the hexagon. Center Left Socialist Party lead by President Francois Hollande remains unpopular after two years in power, with almost zero economic growth and high unemployment. While Socialist Anne Hidalgo retains strength in Paris, France after elections on Sunday.
Far Right takes lead
Out from the start the parties that make up the right took the lead in the first round of France’s municipal elections, according to France24. This is a devastating blow to the ruling Socialist party’s popularity, which has been slipping during its two year reign in the Elysee. The far-right anti-immigration party the National Front along with the main conservative- opposition party the UMP took a massive lead in the first round of elections. Making way for the likely Socialist defeat in next Sunday’s elections.
Statistics released from a BVA poll show the leading opposition party, the UMP along with the other conservative parties claimed 48 percent of votes nationwide. While the ruling Socialist Party claimed 43 percent. Political analysts attribute the poor election results for the Socialists to the estimated 35 percent of French voters that did not turn out to vote on Sunday.
The Socialists suffered a debilitating loss in the former coalmining northern town of Henin-Beaumont. The National Front’s Steeve Briois was declared the winner with a strong majority. Looking to the French capital, Socialist mayoral candidate maintains clout after elections.
The Women at the Head
In the French capital two women are aiming to become the first female mayor. The situation is in favor of the Socialist candidate and current deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo. Although, UMP candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet collected more votes throughout the city than her opponent tallying in at 35.5 percent to 35.9 percent to Hidalgo’s 34 percent to 34.2 percent. NKM as she is nicknamed lost clout in the key districts of the capital.
Paris is at the center of the power struggle and the female candidates are leading the way. NKM rallied her anti-immigration party in saying, “[We only have] one week to win over Paris” she said. “Never before has change been so close.” Hidalgo addressed her crowd of supporters signaling a more somber tone. “I know the national context is difficult,” Hidalgo said, “but innovative force is still here.”
Swimming Pools as Campaign Promises
Both ladies used creative campaign promises in addressing their Parisian constituents in the aftermath of elections. Hidalgo promised not to introduce any new taxes during her first term as mayor. She also hinted on giving Paris some more floating swimming pools for the summer months on the River Seine. While NKM promised to turn the various unused metro stations into swimming pools, exhibition spaces and dining areas.
Le Pen Softens National Front Image
Marine Le Pen daughter of former French Presidential hopeful and National Front founder Jean Marie Le Pen, became leader of the National Front in 2011. She has punished and removed party members that have publicly made racist comments in an attempt to soften the party’s image to French voters. Yet, her political stance is geared towards reduced immigration and anti-EU ideology. She said on Sunday after the elections that her party has made headway in becoming an independent force on the local and national levels.
France’s first cycle of municipal elections proved in favor of the far-right. Due to Socialist President Francois Hollande’s ineffective economic policies and blistering unemployment. Fortunately, for Socialists after Sunday’s elections Anne Hidalgo’s influence remains strong in Paris.
By Sergio Romero