France – Legislative elections mark the end of the honeymoon period

The legislative elections in France, despite giving a clear majority to the right, also marked the electoral recovery of the left. French society is increasingly divided, and the divisions in parliament will be reflected on the streets one way or another.

The second round of the general elections has provided the parties of the right with an absolute majority in Parliament. Leaning on their control over the presidency and the Parliament, the UMP and its allies will from July engage in serious attacks against the rights and living conditions of the vast majority of the population: curbing the right to strike, scrapping of the state university, installing medical "franchises", etc. With an enormous ferocity increased by the victory of its representatives, the capitalist class will demand from Sarkozy and the Fillon government to act quickly and hit hard.

Nevertheless, the elections results of last Sunday have blown away the cloud of euphoria on which the right and the ruling class was living. Not only has the "blue wave" as announced by all media and institutions not materialised, but the second round indicates an equal vote between the right and the left, with both camps gathering just over 10 million votes. In passing, we cannot but revel in the defeat of Alain Juppé, who has not even had the time to display his arrogance in all the recesses of his "great ministry".

All of those who, for weeks, hammered us with their sensational conclusions on the "historically low level of the left, not seen since the 12th century before Christ," etc., will have to rethink this. The theory of "French society's profound shift to the right" is still-born. Shortly after the victory of Sarkozy, La Riposte wrote: "An election is like a photograph. It gives a fixed image of a society in motion, within the context of growing instability. Social consciousness, and the mood of the different social classes are extremely mobile and fluid." The second round of legislative elections is a striking illustration of this, since the net electoral recovery of the left took place in the space of one week.

These results thus clearly show that the idea that "the French largely approve of the President's project" is false, an idea which the right has been continually repeating since the election of Sarkozy. The truth is that Sarkozy was elected on the basis of a demagogic presentation of his programme, in the absence of a credible alternative on the part of the Socialist Party. However, barely one month after the formation of the Fillon government, the second round of legislative elections marks the first sign of distrust amongst the youth and the working class. Brimming with confidence, the right ventured, in the full electoral campaign, to lift the demagogic veil that covers its reactionary project a little bit, announcing an increase in VAT, which would result in a fall of purchasing power for the mass of the population.

The right is attempting to console themselves by considering that "the balance of forces" in Parliament will defuse social protest. On June 19 Le Monde writes:

"With a left-wing holding 227 seats, Parliament will be, more surely than the streets, the place of discussion for people who are angry." But nothing will come of it, because there is nothing "to discuss" in Parliament aside from a long series of attacks against the youth and the labour movement. There will be no other choice in facing this other than to take the path of massive struggle, as was done during the struggle against the CPE. It is of course impossible to determine in advance the exact rhythm and extent of future mobilisations. Periods of advance and retreat are inevitable. But the general perspective seems clear to us: the period to come will be marked by enormous political and social instability, and the crisis of French capitalism will prepare the elements for a major confrontation of the classes - confrontations during which the left, if is rejects reformism in favour of a revolutionary programme, will be in a position to lead the workers to power and launch the socialist transformation of society.


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