In their post-election roundup, Monday’s front pages of the French papers were dominated with the National Front (FN)’s failure to win a single region.
However, there was no sense of triumphalism as the FN recorded its best-ever national vote tally.
Catholic newspaper La Croix published a succinct cover headline, “Everybody loses”, saying that none of the parties could claim a decisive victory. “It’s an election without a winner”, said regional daily La Voix du Nord, which had taken a clear stand against FN leader Marine Le Pen before the vote’s first round.
“The FN wins the first round but fails in the second round, the Conservatives don’t benefit from the traditional sanction vote [against the ruling party], and the Socialists lose their regional supremacy” wrote Jean-Michel Bretonnier, the paper’s editor-in-chief.
President François Hollande’s ruling Socialists won in five regions, while the centre-right alliance of his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, took seven.
In Corsica, the Nationalists, a regionalist movement advocating greater independence for the island, won a majority vote.
In an editorial titled, "Not a victory but the absence of defeat", left-wing Liberation said it was fear of the far-right which had mobilised the left, rather than any renewed enthusiasm for the Socialist Party. The rejection of the Socialist Party was visible in the Paris region, which shifted from left to right for the first time in 17 years.
"Only a matter of time"
The front page of conservative daily Le Figaro announced: "The right wins, the left holds up, the FN falls". Still, the paper’s director, Alexis Brézet, warned that "the FN is far from having disappeared”.
The FN actually recorded its best-ever score Sunday, with 6.8 million votes nationally, up from just over six million in the first round on December 6. However, it lost in several regions, in large part, because the Socialist Party withdrew its candidates and called for its voters to support the mainstream Right.
The FN argued that the political manoeuvring by the main two political parties shows that they are two sides of the same coin and the far-right offers the only real political alternative.
“An immediate risk has been avoided. But if we don’t ask ourselves serious questions, it’s only a matter of time before we’re there again,” cautioned Guillaume Goubert, director of La Croix.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2015-12-14