Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
11 April 2022

How the centre-left and centre-right in France collapsed

The Socialists and Republicans, the two traditional governing parties, have suffered their worst election results in history.

By Nicu Calcea

The first round of the French presidential election dealt another blow to Parti Socialiste (PS) and Les Républicains (LR), the two traditional governing parties. The latter’s candidate, Valérie Pécresse, finished fifth with 4.8 per cent of the vote, while the former’s candidate, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, finished tenth with just 1.7 per cent.

 

As recently as the 2012 election, PS won the presidency with François Hollande and held the Élysée Palace from 1981 to 1995 under François Mitterrand. The predecessor parties to LR, meanwhile, held the presidency from 1995 until 2012, and 2017’s LR candidate François Fillon achieved 20 per cent of the vote. As a result of polling below 5 per cent, both parties failed to meet the threshold required for the bulk of campaign expenses to be reimbursed by the French government.

“I had to fight on two fronts, against the outgoing president and the extremes,” said Pécresse in a speech after the results were announced. In common with Hidalgo, she urged her supporters to vote for Macron in the final round against the far-right Marine Le Pen.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.