Monday, 23 April 2012

Marine le Pen, kingmaker?

The first round of voting in the French presidential election was completed yesterday and the ten candidates polled as follows:
Francois Hollande (Socialist)        28.63%
Nicholas Sarkozy (UMP)               27.08%
Marine Le Pen (Nationalist)          18.01%
Jean-Luc Melenchon (Left Party)      11.13%
Fran├žois Bayrou (Social Democrat)     9.11%
Eva Joly (Green)                      2.28%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Republican)    1.80%
Philippe Poutou  (Communist)          1.15%
Nathalie Arthaud (Workers' Party)     0.57%
Jacques Cheminade (Weirdo)            0.25%
As no candidate has more than 50% of the votes there will be a second round of voting featuring just the top two. If we reallocate the votes of the candidates dropping out to their most natural home (excluding Le Pen for the moment) we get...
Francois Hollande (Socialist)        53.12%
Nicholas Sarkozy (UMP)               28.88%
From this we see that Mme Le Pen does not hold a trump card. If she asked her followers to vote for Sarkozy, after extracting policy concessions from him of course, she could theoretically boost his support to 46.88% - which wouldn't be enough to keep him in the Elysee Palace.

And anyway it's more complicated than that. The Front National supporters mainly hate Sarky. (It doesn't help that he's a second generation immigrant himself, with Jewish roots!) So Le Pen could not deliver a big bloc of votes. Plus if Sarky moves to the right to please the FN supporters he will lose support on the left.

So, although Marine Le Pen did a sterling job and surpassed her father, it seems it's game over for now. She will move on and start looking towards the parliamentary elections later this year.

Meanwhile France will shift sharply to the left under President Hollande.

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