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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2010-03-16

Low voter turnout illustrates a “broken democracy”

French papers all lead with issues surrounding the regional elections in advance of this weekend’s second round of voting. Under the spotlight is the extremely low voter turnout. 53% of the electorate stayed at home. TUESDAY, 16th MARCH, 2010

Libération says voter apathy in last weekend’s first round of regional elections shows that France’s democracy is broken. Along with the record abstention rate, the rise in the far-right National Front vote shows a rejection of the political system.
 
The paper’s editorial describes the political landscape as “volcanic”. While those “on top” do vote, there is a huge swell of people beneath this democratic shell who do not feel involved in the political process. The Socialist Party, Libération says, is failing to capture these disaffected voters, appealing mainly to “champagne socialists”.
 
The right-leaning daily Le Figaro analyses the “départements” that saw the highest abstention rate and sees a correlation with traditionally UMP strongholds. Alsace which is a consistently conservative region saw a high rate of voter apathy. The paper also says that départements that voted strongly in favour of Sarkozy in the 2007 Presidential election are often the same départements that saw the lowest turnout last weekend. As a result, the UMP is hoping to mobilize its traditional vote in advance of next weekend’s second and final round.
 
Other stories in today’s French papers:
 
Le Parisien: UMP party looks for scapegoats
 
Le Monde: Disagreement over Israel’s museum of tolerance
 
France Soir: Marion Cotillard pricked by Frédéric Mitterand in award ceremony
 
 

By James CREEDON

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