Post by Devil Wincarnate on Sept 29, 2014 21:31:37 GMT
Somehow I missed the French senate election that took place at the weekend. It looks like the UMP have achieved a small majority, and the FN have entered the senate for the first time, in Bouches-du-Rhone (i.e. Marseille) and Var (mainly around the FN stronghold of Frejus). It looks as if Jean-Pierre Raffarin will emerge from the grave to become senate leader. Very unusually, in the Allier department, a Communist-leaning senator lost to the UMP. Bouches-du-Rhone has also re-elected the PS renegade (take that comment as you will) Jean-Noel Guerini.
I will endeavour to find more information.
"People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity; the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die."
Well, dear Devil Wincarnate , let me, 6 years after, give us a bit more information.
The senate is the "high chamber" of the French Republic. It has some limited powers. It cannot censor a government, but it helps shape the law. The Assemblée Nationale however, after what we call "navette parlementaire" always has the final say.
The president of the senate is institutionnally more important than the president of the Assemblée Nationale. It is him (it never has been 'her' to this day) that replaces the Président de la République if he dies or resigns. It's been the case two times: when de Gaulle resigned in 1969, Poher became president until an election was held. Poher was also a fierce opponent of de Gaulle in the referendum on a reform of the senate that de Gaulle proposed. De Gaulle losing the referendum made him resign. Poher, winner of the referendum, became president and was candidate in the 1969 presidential election. It is Pompidou former PM of de Gaulle, however, who was elected against Poher in the second run. The first of many fights between gaullist and non gaullist right during the 5th Republic. (the communist candidate, Jacques Duclos, famously said of the second run match between Poher and Pompidou "c'est bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet")
Poher became a second time president when Pompidou died in 1974. The presidential election was won by Giscard d'Estaing, who was part of the non gaullist right, against Jacques Chaban Delmas, Pompidou's PM between 1969 and 1972.
It is worth noting that a president of the senate should have become president a third time, earlier than that. During the 4th Republic, the senate was called "Conseil de la République". The Président de la République was elected by the "Congrès", which was the addition of Assemblée Nationale and Conseil de la République. In 1953, to replace Vincent Auriol, the election was quite difficult. Due do the vote on the European Defense council, the left and the right were divided. Apparently there was an unwritten rule during the third and the fourth republic that if an election was unclear, the president of the Senate (or here the Conseil de la République) was designated.
But between 1947 and 1968, the president of the Conseil de la République (and then called again Senate during the 5th republic) was Gaston Monnerville, MP for Guyane in the 1930s, member of the government in 1937 and 1938, part of the resistance during the war, he was elected senator for Guyane in 1946 then for the Lot département in 1948 and until 1972. According to some historians (and himself) it is due to the colour of his skin that he wasn't chosen to be president in 1953.
He was a fierce defender of the senate, member of the Parti Radical which made and unmade governments during the third and the fourth republic, he was elected as president of the Conseil de la République by the right against a communist supported by the socialist. He later joined a center-left group in the senate.
The senate is partially renewed every three years. In the past, there were three "series" of départements, and therefore the term was 9 years. Since 2014, the senators are elected for only 6 years and the senate is renewed by half every three years.
The "grands électeurs" which vote for the senators are:
- the members of the Assemblée Nationale
- the regional councillors (which are elected in derpartmental lists, so they vote in their département of election)
- the departmental councillors
- some local (municipal) councillors: 1 in "communes" (villages/cities/every synonym possible) of less than 500 inhabitants; 3 between 500 and 1499 inhabitants; 5 between 1500 and 2499 inhabitants; 7 between 2500 and 3499; 15 between 3500 and 9999 inhabitants. They are elected by the municipal council. Between 9000 and 29999 inhabitants, all councillors are "grands électeurs" (which means between 29 and 35 councillors); if there are vacancies or if some council members are foreigners (citizens of another EU country who can vote and be elected at the local level but cannot vote in national election ie senate election), they can designate replacement grand électeurs. In cities above 30 000 inhabitants, there are additionnal delegates which are elected by the municipal council: one additionnal councillor for every 800 inhabitants above 30 000. All councillors are grands électeurs and the same rule apply for vacancies or foreign councillors
- incumbent senators as well
So for each département, there is not more than a few thousand electors. The election takes place at the "préfecture de département" (the préfet is the representative of the State in the département).
- If there are only 1 or 2 seats to fill, there can be two rounds. In the first round, every grand électeur has one or two votes (if there is one or two seats), and they can vote only once for each candidate. If a candidate gets more than 50% of the votes, he is deemed elected. If there is at least one seat left to fill, a second run is held and the candidates with the most votes are elected. It happens quite often that both a left-wing and a right-wing senators are elected, some "grands électeurs" chosing their senators based on personal or geographical relationships.
In the past, this was also the case for départements with 3 seats, but this was modified (twice).
- If there are 3 or more seats to fill (there are 12 senators of Paris and 11 in the Nord, although the Nord is more populated and has more MPs - 21 against 18), the candidates are obligated to form a list (with alterning men and women) of the number of seats to fill (+ replacers). There is only one round and the seats are filled with the highest average method.
In 2011, following disastrous local elections by the Sarkozy majority in 2008, 2010 and 2011, the senate was gained by the left (after a mig showing in the 2008 election as well).PS's Jean-Pierre Bel was elected president of the senate with the votes of the different left-wing groups (communists, greens, radical(ie center)-left and of course socialists). In 2012, for the first time, the left had all the powers: senate, national assembly and president.
In 2014, there were local elections (at the municipal level only) which were a disaster for the left. So in september, six months after, the left lost the senate elections (Jean-Pierre Bel was not even candidate for reelection in his département).
In 2014 and 2020, the following départements are contested:
04 Alpes de Haute-Provence
21 Côte d'Or
22 Côtes d'Armor
987 Polynésie française
French from overseas (the electors are the members of the Assemblée des français de l'étranger, and they vote every three year for 6 senators - so 12 in total).
In 2017, every other départements were contested. A group "En Marche" was created in june 2017, a few months before the elections. It included 25 senators including 23 socialists. There were a couple of new senators defecting from other groups after that.
21 faced reelection in 2017. 3 incumbents (Alain Richard, ex-PS, Val d'Oise, André Gattolin, ex Green, Hauts-de-Seine, Thani Mohamed Soilihi, ex-left, Mayotte) were reelected in 2017 while 18 weren't reelected (some of them weren't candidates or didn't have the LREM support). There were 8 newly elected senators in 2017 (Julien Bargeton, ex-PS, Paris, Arnaud de Belenet, ex-LR, Seine-et-Marne, Michel Dennemont, ex-PS and elected as head of the PS list but defected just after his reelection, La Réunion, Abdallah Hassani, no party, Mayotte, Martin Lévrier, right-wing, Yvelines, Frédéric Marchand, ex-PS, Nord, Didier Rambaud, ex-PS, Isère, Dominique Théophile, left-wing, Guadeloupe) with only 6 elected as LREM. Xavier Iacovelli, elected as PS in 2017 in Hauts-de-Seine, joined the group in 2019.
So in 2020, there are 10 members of the 23-member group which are concerned with the election.
- The president, François Patriat (ex-PS) in Côte d'Or is facing a very tough reelection against a right-wing list which gained 2 seats last time and a left-wing list which wants to take back his seat.
- Françoise Cartron (ex-PS, Gironde) who joined the group in 2018 will probably not be reelected (we don't know yet if she'll be candidate).
- Bernard Cazeau (ex-PS, Dordogne) will not be candidate again and there's no chance LREM gets a senator there.
- Agnès Constant, who replaced left-wing (and former PS -excluded- who joined LREM in 2017) Robert Navarro after he was convicted of abuse of trust (abus de confiance) and dispossessed of his civil rights in 2016, confirmed on appeal in 2018 and then in 2019 in the "cour de cassation", will be a LREM candidate but with little chance of getting a seat.
- Claude Haut (ex-PS, Vaucluse) decided not to contest the election but supports the LREM list. A United left list (which is quite rare in senate elections) was formed to get back the seat for the PS.
- Bernard Buis (ex-PS, Drôme) was third in the PS list and was elected during Didier Guillaume's stay in government and following his resignation after his leaving the government. He will head the LREM list but will have trouble getting one seat. The right seems poised to get one more seat and the PS keep one (out of the two elected in 2014).
- Georges Patient (ex-left-wing more or less PS, Guyane) is not sure to be candidate again but could be. He could be reelected.
- Antoine Karam (ex-left-wing, Guyane) will not be candidate again. It is unclear which group other potential candidates (left-wing or not) like the mayor of Cayenne will join after their possible election.
- Noëlle Rauscent (ex right-wing, Yonne) was the replacement of Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (ex-LR) who was nominated in the Edouard Philippe government (confirmed in the Castex government). He was at one time candidate in the Bayonne (Pyrénées Atlantiques) city in the 2020 municipal elections but since he was facing at the time another list where Didier Guillaume, senator from Drôme was candidate, both from the government, they were both asked no to be candidates. Noëlle Rauscent will be candidate again but was waiting for Lemoyne to say if he wanted to be "titulaire" and her "remplaçante". They probably won't be reelected in this two-seat constituency, the right-wing LR quite clearly wanting to take back this seat.
- Patricia Schillinger (ex-PS, Haut-Rhin) will head the LREM list, now with more centrist and right-wing candidates. She could be reelected, as the left lost a good deal of councillors here and are not very active anymore. Centrist list in 2014 got 1 seat with Jean-Marie Bockel (former PS, joined the Sarkozy government), so she might be able to tap into these votes (Bockel's replacement said she will not be candidate again).
- Finally, Richard Yung (ex-PS, foreign-based french) will not face reelection this year because... the foreign-based french senate election was postponed until 2021 due to Covid. Unsure if he will be candidate. LREM didn't get a seat in the 2017 senate election of the foreign-based french.
So out of the 10 senators facing elections, I think LREM might be able to keep between 0 to 3 (Patriat, Schillinger, Patient).
It will be difficult for them to gain seats elsewhere. Even in more populated département like Gironde (Bordeaux), Rhône (Lyon), Bouches-du-Rhône (Marseille), Seine-Maritime (Le Havre), Haute-Garonne (Toulouse), Hérault (Montpellier) their results at the municipal level were quite bad, and they should not get seats. In Seine-Maritime, the senator quite close to Edouard Philippe is still part of the LR group (and is the head of the united right-and-center list without LREM).
The 2014 results (with which seats flipped) (with the 2014 labels, so sometimes PS became LREM etc)
UDI-UC = center-right (the Union Centriste group in the senate regroups former UDF, UDI and Modem senators, despite their political fights)
UMP = right (former RPR, now LR)
DVD = right-wing without partisan affiliation
DVG = left-wing without partisan affiliation
RDSE = former the Parti Radical which was centrist and divided into to wings: the left wing PRG (former MRG) and the right-wing PRV (Parti Radical Valoisien), now part of the UDI. They still caucus together, however, nowadays, it is dominated by PRG as some PRV joined the UC group. This group is also used for DVG senators like Pierre Yves Collombat (Var), Jean-Pierre Chevènement (Territoire-de-Belfort) or former PS like Tropéano (Hérault) for instance.
The Greens will try to get back a group that they lost in 2017. They hope to get 2 seats in a united left alliance list in Rhône (with the third going PS and a potential fourth to PCF), maybe getting Corse nationalists to join if they are elected, maybe one in Bouches-du-Rhône (but we don't know if there will be a united left list and wether they will have a good place; alone, they cannot get a seat), one in Haute-Garonne where they failed to win Toulouse but won smaller cities (they are alone in their list; PS should win one from RDSE and LR or UDI-UC losing one seat - the UDI-UC candidate is supported by LREM), 1 seat in Gironde where they won Bordeaux in an alliance with PS (PS should get back the seat that went LREM, LR losing one seat), but this time in a Green-only list (the parties decided they could win 4 seats while divided) and 1 seat in Bas-Rhin where they gained Strasbourg from PS (PS losing their seat).
They need 10 seats to form a group. Some current senators will probably join (Esther Benbassa, Greens, Paris, Joël Labbé, close to Greens, Morbihan, Guillaume Gontard, close to Greens and Grenoble's mayor, Isère, Ronand Dantec, former Greens, Loire-Atlantique, Sophie Taillée-Pollian, former PS now Générations (Hamon's party), Val-de-Marne). So they probably only need 5 or 6 seats. 3 should be quite sure (2 in Rhône, 1 in Gironde) and 2 are probable (Haute-Garonne and Bas-Rhin).
Overall, the left should do better than 2014, but will not frighten Gérard Larcher, LR, for his reelection (the senate president has a three-year term).
LREM will probably lose quite a lot of seats but will (barely) keep a group.
Communists should keep their group as well (they have 16 senators, will lose Pierre-Yves Collombat from Var (former RDSE) and probably Christine Prunaud from Côtes-d'Armor but keep their seat in Seine-Maritime. They might get back a seat in Rhône in the united left list, maybe one in Bouches-du-Rhône if they have a good place in a united left alliance list, one in Dordogne where they are in alliance with PS (one seat each). Two senators might leave them for the Greens' new group, Esther Benbassa and Guillaume Gontard (not sure for this one, though). So lose 4, maybe gain 2 or 3.
RDSE has 23 seats currently. They will probably lose quite a few seats. They have 10 seats not facing reelection but two of them (Ronan Dantec and Joël Labbé) might leave for the Green's group. They might keep seats in Cantal, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Gironde, Haute-Vienne, Saint-Martin and Tarn-et-Garonne.
Also, the only two RN senators were elected in this series of Départements. RN will most probably lose their two seats from Bouches-du-Rhône (they lost the sectorial mayorship in Marseille and all their political representation in the Aix-en-Provence council) and Var (they lost Le Luc and a bunch of councillors in most cities). They can also have good results in Vaucluse (but are always against far-right Ligue du sud and they 'cancel' each other) and Hérault (with Béziers and neighbouring cities) but it will probably not be enough to get a seat.
At the municipal election, they lost a lot of seats.
So for these départements, there were and still are:
11 Départements have known a tilt to the right:
Aisne (-1 PS, +1 LR)
Alpes-Maritimes (-1 PS, +1 LR)
Cantal (-1 RDSE, +1 LR)
Charente (-1 PS, +1 LR)
Doubs (-1 PS, +1 UC)
Finistère (-1 PS, +1 LREM)
Gers (-1 RDSE, +1 UC)
Seine-Maritime (-1 PS, +1 LR)
Tarn (-1 PS, +1 UC)
Tarn-et-Garonne (-1 RDSE, +1 UC)
Saint-Martin (-1 RDSE, +1 LR)
8 Départements have known a tilt to the left:
Dordogne (-1 LREM, +1 PCF)
Gard (-1 UC, +1 LR)
Gironde (-1 LREM, +1 EELV)
Hérault (-1 LR, -1 LREM, +1 PS, +1 RDSE)
Vaucluse (-1 LREM, +1 PS)
Haute-Vienne (-1 RDSE, +1 PS)
Guyane (-1 LREM, +1 PS)
Wallis-et-Futuna (-1 LIRT, +1 DVG)
5 have known realignment on the right:
Aveyron (-1 UC, +1 LR)
Eure (-1 LR, +1 LREM)
Haut-Rhin (-1 UC, +1 LIRT)
Somme (-1 LIRT, +1 LR)
Vosges (-1 LR, +1 UC)
In more urban départements, there have been more changes:
- Bouches-du-Rhône (13, Marseille): RN succeeds in keeping their seat at the general surprise because they lost their Marseille's sector; Guérini (former PS) lost two of his list seats to the left (resulting in 1 PCF, 1 PS and 1 EELV for the united left list).
- Haute-Garonne (31, Toulouse): PS regained their second seat from RDSE's Françoise Laborde.
- Ille-et-Vilaine (35, Rennes): PS lost one of their two seats to EELV
- Bas-Rhin (67, Strasbourg): PS lost their seat to EELV (logically following EELV's conquest of Strasbourg)
- Rhône (69, Lyon): LR lost one seat, a UC seat transformed into LIRT, PS lost one seat. EELV gained two in the united left list (PS accepted only the third place and knew they would lose one; in fact, the left won a seat) following Lyon's conquest.
- Var (83, Toulon): RN lost their seat to LR while PS got back the seat of Pierre-Yves Collombat which switched from RDSE to the PCF grouping (he supported Mélenchon at the presidential election).
There are still a lot of uncertainty for some new senators group choice, so I had to chose myself for them to give you an idea of what happenned.
Overall, the changes:
Since there will probably be 2 RDSE members, 2 CRC members and 1 PS member which will join the EELV grouping, it will be -9 for RDSE, -4 for PS and -1 for PCF.
For my predictions:
I predicted correctly 133 senators (for 168 seats). I was mostly biased against the right and the greens which is quite consistant with my political bias