The far right party FN (Front National) won the first round of regional elections held yesterday in France. It’s a historic win to take place in such a liberal country.
FN is often accused by the liberals of being “divisive”, i.e. anti immigrants and “intolerant”, i.e. anti Islam/Muslims. Party founder Jean Marie Le Pen famously prides himself on being very native, i.e. having a long family history in the country as compared with the relatively new immigrants.
One way in which the first-round elections result can be read is that the natives (white Christians) are reacting to their immigrant Muslim population which has not successfully integrated.
Unlike Malaysia’s first-past-the-post electoral system, France’s run-off (second ballot) voting provides a win when the top finisher attains an absolute majority or 40-45% with a winning margin of 5-15%.
Here’s an illustration of how it works
Round 1: Three or four or more cornered fights = Party A (40% votes) vs Party B (25% votes) vs Party C (35% votes)
Round 2: Party A faces off Party C = Party A (45% votes) vs Party C (55% votes)
Winner gains a clear victory.
Tactical play taking place in France now
According to a breaking new report by France 24, the Socialist party headed by president Francois Hollande will withdraw from the second round of regional elections in the north and southeast of the country where FN finished with more than 40 percent of the vote.
The socialists are willing to pull out of Round Two on Dec 13 so that their supporters will redirect their voters to opponents of the FN instead. Votes from smaller leftist and green parties are also expected to coalesce against FN in the run-off.
Exit polls had given FN 30.6 percent of the vote nationwide while the Les Républicains party headed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy obtained 27 percent, and the socialists 22.7 percent.
Sarkozy is quoted as saying that politicians needed to listen to the message voters were sending in abandoning the two main parties. (Not too long ago, FN was just a party on the fringe.)
France is leading the way for a decisive electoral breakthrough by the European right wing. Her elections are interesting for us to study to see liberal France’s sharp rightward turn as well as the French response to Islam and Muslims.
Malaysia is also tacking right and there will be a reaction to Christianization and the evangelistas in our own next election.