Monday, 14 December 2015

Tactical withdrawal by French socialists leads to defeat Front National

The French Front National have failed to take control of any regions in last week's elections after an unprecedented pact between the socialists and conservatives which saw candidates stood down to help keep Marine Le Pen's party out of power.

Last week's regional elections had overtones of recent elections this side of the channel where left and right have united to stop UKIP from challenging the status quo. The big difference here, of course, is that UKIP isn't a racist party.  But despite the efforts of Marine Le Pen to make her father's party more moderate since she took the helm, it's still some way from being transformed into the kind of moderate party that can gain enough mainstream support to win elections.

The decision by the Socialists to withdraw candidates from the second round of voting to help the conservative Republicans is controversial and undermines the democratic process. Voters marked their preferences knowing how the votes should be split between the Socialists, Republicans and Front National. So-called tactical voting belongs in the ballot box, it is wrong for parties involved in the election to manipulate the result with tactical withdrawals.

If Le Pen continues to reform her party between now and the next election, it is hard to see how they can fail to capitalise on the 6.8m votes it received this time round.