Bernard Bichakjian writes:
Much was said about the conservative party (UMP) having lost, and the Socialist party (PS) having won the municipal elections. The conclusion cannot be denied, but that’s part of the pendular pattern characteristic of elections: the dissatisfied vote against the party in office at the national level and the opposition party profits from the existing resentment, which in this case was compounded by the added disapproval of the president’s personal behavior. So far, except for punishing the president’s unbecoming behavior, nothing really new. What is worth noting, however is François Bayrou’s personal defeat as mayoral candidate for the city of Pau, in Southwestern France, and the debacle of his party.
Bayrou was originally the leader of center right UDF, which for years had been the junior partner of the conservative UMP. Last Spring during the presidential elections, his fame and popularity suddenly surged. Since both Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy were not universally liked, many of those who agreed with their respective ideologies but disliked them for their personalities voted instead for Bayrou on the first round. The first round in the French elections is often a chance for the electorate to let off steam and vent frustrations. It will be recalled that five years earlier, Jean-Marie le Pen, the Far-Right nationalist candidate, had received the second highest number of votes, not because the French shared his views, but because they wanted to register their discontent…
[Continued in Pt. 2]
Bernard Bichakjian is a retired professor of French Linguistics University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He’s been a friend of mine since graduate school at Harvard.