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French press review 11 June 2012

Text by: Marjorie Hache
4 min

Nearly every French daily is leading with the results of the first round of France’s legislative elections.

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Left-leaning Libération headlines "A stronger Left" with a photo of president François Hollande emerging from the polling booth having cast his vote, while communist L'Humanité goes for a "The Left takes the lead."

Parliamentary elections 2012

Catholic La Croix notes that "The Left has the advantage" but that more people abstained from the first round than in 2007. Tabloid Aujourd'hui en France headlines "The Left is at a distinct advantage" and conservative Le Figaro chooses to go for  "Legislatives, the Right warns against Socialist state".

It's quick to point out in its editorial that this year's record abstention highlights the fact that we are no longer in 1981 - The François Mitterrand era often seen as the Socialist party's heyday - and that there is no appetite for the left or for a change.

It continues to bash the left by saying that François Hollande has failed to generate the same enthusiasm as Mitterrand. It then goes on to praise the conservative UMP party which it says obtained pretty much the same number of votes as the Socialist party. It also claims the far right National Front obtained a lower score than expected.

Do we sense some bitterness here?

Libération celebrates what it calls a solid success, saying the Left maintained the momentum of its presidential campaign. It does, however, admit that 42 per cent of potential voters staying clear of the ballot box is the worst abstention figure in France's legislative history but says this often happens after the presidential elections.

It also admits that French people are not interested in these elections, which have increased the bipolarisation of the French parliament. The paper also notes the Front de Gauche's failure in the Pas de Calais, where its leader Jean Luc Mélenchon had hoped to fight off Marine Le Pen.

Libération also notes that not many deputies were elected in the first round. Many of them will now face run-offs next week in the second round. The leftist paper suggests two reasons for this: firstly the fact that in some constituencies, the left has put forward three candidates be they Socialist, Green, Front de Gauche etc... There's also the National Front's high results, with a 13,6 percent share of the vote, up from the 4,29 per cent it scored in 2007.

Libé also notes that some of François Hollande's ministers have been re elected in the first round, and most look likely to get through the second round. Any minister who fails to be re elected as a deputy, will lose ministerial office. It also celebrates the fact that some prominent UMP members such as Rama Yade are now out of the race while other heavy- weights from Nicolas Sarkozy’s government such as Claude Guéant are by no means sure of election in next week's run off.

Communist L'Humanité remains positive despite Mélenchon's defeat up north. It notes that with seven per cent of the vote, the party has improved on its 2007 results and could obtain a group in the French assembly next Sunday.

And if you're interested in looking at who’s in, who might be in next week and who is definitely out... Aujourd'hui en France has an excellent spread including candidate photos, figures etc...

To be continued...

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