SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – PARIS; Three years after France’s upper house Senate made its first ever swing to the left, the right has clawed back a majority, with the far-right National Front winning seats for the first time.
The results were a new setback for beleaguered Socialist President Francois Hollande. The conservative UMP party of Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and its allies from the centrist UDI won 188 seats according to near-final results in the late evening — 13 seats more than needed for an absolute majority.
The far-right National Front (FN), meanwhile, entered the senate for the first time, securing two seats in what its leader Marine Le Pen described as a historic victory. “It’s the first time that we are entering the Senate and in a nice way, with two senators,” she said.
Stephane Ravier, one of the successful FN candidates, reflected the party’s upbeat mood, saying: “Now there is only one more door to push open, that of the Elysee (presidential palace).” The fortunes of the FN have been on the ascendant this year with the anti-immigration eurosceptic party gaining electoral ground in municipal elections and topping the European Parliament vote in May.
An opinion poll this month showed that FN leader Le Pen would beat Hollande in presidential elections in 2017 in the event of a second round run-off between them. The Senate elections saw more than 87,500 regional and local elected official’s nationwide vote for their preferred candidate, six months after the Socialists suffered a drubbing in municipal polls that saw the right make significant gains.
France’s upper house is not chosen by universal suffrage but by a super-electorate of elected representatives who vote to renew roughly half of the 348-seat Senate every three years.
Source: Pakistan Daily Times