Friday

19th Aug 2022

French Socialists bruised in local elections

France's ruling Socialists on Sunday (30 March) suffered a bruising defeat in local elections, with the centre-right claiming victory and the anti-EU National Front making further gains – a possible foreshadowing of the upcoming EU elections.

The centre-right Popular Movement Union (UMP) won with around 45.9 percent of the vote, according to early results. The Socialists lost over 150 cities to the centre-right, including Limoges, Toulouse, and Angers, with only around 40.6 percent of the votes cast in their favour.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Francois Hollande has an approval rate around 20 percent (Photo: elysee.fr)

UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope called it a "blue wave" making his party "the first in France".

"It is the first big electoral victory in local elections since the UMP's creation" in 2002, Cope told TF1 TV channel.

Paris and Strasbourg stayed under Socialist control, with Anne Hidalgo becoming the French capital's first female mayor – a consolation prize for the embattled President, Francois Hollande, whose approval ratings keep hovering at a low 20 percent.

The far-right and anti-EU National Front (FN) meanwhile scored its best-ever result getting around 6.8 percent of the vote, according to early results. The party, led by Marine Le Pen, an MEP and daughter of the oldest MEP, Jean-Marie Le Pen, is set to govern for the next six years in at least 12 French towns, on top of the four municipalities that were already under FN rule.

Marine Le Pen, who steered away from the anti-Semitic comments of her father in a bid to increase the respectability of her party, said the "glass ceiling has been shattered".

"No one can seriously deny this has been a huge victory for us," she said.

The FN is widely expected to score even better in the European Parliament elections on 25 May, with polls indicating it could gain the most votes, ahead of the centre-right UMP.

Germany points to France's deficit commitments

French finance minister Michel Sapin on his first trip to Berlin gathered support for more reforms and budget cuts, but was referred to the EU commission on a deficit deadline postponement.

Slovakia's government stares into the abyss

When a pro-western coalition swept to power in Slovak elections in 2020, many saw it as the start of a new era. Yet fast forward two-and-a-half years, and the four-party coalition is teetering on the brink of collapse.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  2. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says
  3. German chancellor to face MPs over tax-fraud probe
  4. Norway wealth fund makes record €171bn loss
  5. German utility firm Uniper on 'brink of insolvency'
  6. ECB mulls big interest rate hike amid recession risk
  7. Germany unlikely to hit November gas-storage target
  8. Mali accuses France of arming Islamist fighters

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  2. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  3. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  4. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas
  5. Conditions met for German nuclear extension, officials say
  6. A year of Taliban — only aid is keeping Afghan kids alive
  7. Is this strange summer a moment of change?
  8. Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us