Sarkozy flops – gets less votes than Chirac

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THE landslide vote for Sarkozy that was to get him off on a flying start as the ‘Saviour of France’ for his war against the working class and the trade unions was a vote that never materialised.

French voters stayed at home with only 60 per cent turning out to vote.

The Sarkozy party, the UMP, was elected the governing party with just over 30 per cent of the voters supporting it at the ballot box.

This was hardly the landslide of support that the man who was expected to take France and the working class by the throat and force Thatcherism onto it, willing or not, was demanding and expecting.

In fact, Sarkozy got less votes and less deputies than did Chirac at the last parliamentary election.

Sarkozy’s UMP won 314 seats in the 577-member assembly, while the Socialists won 185, the Left parties won 22, the Greens 4 and the Communist party 15.

The UMP and its allies’ majority is smaller than the 359 seats they held in the previous parliament, when Jacques Chirac was president.

The number of seats held by the Socialists and their allies was up from 149 in the previous assembly.

The centrist Democratic Movement, founded by presidential candidate Francois Bayrou, won three seats. The far-right National Front party did not win any seats.

In fact Sarkozy’s first task will be to work out a cabinet reshuffle, after the defeat of former Prime Minister Alain Juppe, who was made energy and environment minister in the new government.

Juppe is notorious as a former Premier who sought to bring in massive cuts and was stopped, then forced to resign by a massive movement of workers and youth.

Socialists who had believed the propaganda that they would be wiped out by a ‘Blue Tsunami’ said that the result was an indictment of ‘the unfair measures’ set to be introduced by the UMP such as raising sales taxes from 19.5 per cent to 24.5 per cent to finance healthcare costs.

In fact Sarkozy is set on a programme of abolishing the 35 hour week, privatising state owned industries, bringing in anti-union laws, draconian immigration laws, tax cuts for the better off and longer jail terms for criminals.

In other words he is determined to Anglicise France, with a heavy dose of Thatcherite privatisation, deregulation, and penal retribution.

That France has not greeted the Sarkozy programme with enthusiasm is obvious. The electors have even returned more of the discredited Socialist party’s deputies back into the French Assembly.

It is obvious that as soon as Sarkozy attempts to push through his programme, he will be met with a massive movement of the working class and the youth that will continue the mass movement that produced a general strike last year in opposition to the attempts to bring in cheap labour and instant dismissals for young workers.

The Communist Party, the various left parties and even the Socialist party will then ride along on the spontaneous wave of struggle that emerges, they certainly will not be leading it forward.

They will be blind to the drive that Sarkozy will bring in for a military police state to impose by force the changes that he wants against the working class and the youth.

What Sarkozy represents is that section of the French ruling class that know that unless they bring in a British style cheap labour economy, and break the power of the working class, French capitalism will be driven out of the world’s markets.

France is now at the crossroads. What the French working class needs is the development of a revolutionary party, a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, to lead the working class and the youth forward to bring down the Sarkozy regime and the Fifth Republic to take France forward with a socialist revolution to a workers Republic.