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French Vote Pattern Reveals Deep National Divide

PARIS, April 29, 2017 (Nouvelle Solidarité)—At this point, unless there are major convulsions—which are always possible, given the current French situation—Emmanuel Macron, who came in with 24%, is likely to defeat Marine Le Pen (21.3%) in the upcoming May 7 run-off Presidential election in France, for two reasons : 1) the French population fears that her anti-immigration policies could provoke a civil war in a country where 6 to 9 million people are of North African origin, and 2) fear of a break with the present system is very great, in particular among a large proportion of retired people in France who voted massively for Macron and Fillon, and who are sticking with the euro system like a hanged man to the rope.

The big news today, however, is that Marine Le Pen announced that, were she to be elected, she would name Nicolas Dupont Aignan, head of the small Sovereignist party who got 4.9% in the first round, as her Prime Minister. An agreement between them was negotiated during the first round, with the aim of getting as many votes as possible from the Les Republicains grouping. To do that, the first thing that was sacrificed was Marine’s promise to immediately organize a referendum on a Frexit, or French exit from the euro. With this change, Marine’s nationalist and statist line has been reconciled with the liberal conservative line of others in her camp, to make it compatible with factions of Les Republicains who don’t want to leave the euro.

An analysis of the first round results reveals a situation very much like the one which led to Trump’s victory in the United States. There is a clear dividing line between the poor who voted for Le Pen and the well-off who voted for Macron. The dividing line goes from the northwest corner of France (Le Havre-Calais) down to the southeast corner (Marseille to Nice) and extends to practically the whole of the Mediterranean Coast.

On the right, the areas which voted heavily for Le Pen, are the old industrial belt of France that has collapsed in the last 30 years: the coal mines and textiles industry in the North, the steel industries towards Germany, down to the Mediterranean coast. These are also areas of heavy immigration since many were specifically brought there to work for industry. On the left, those who voted Macron live in the well-to-do areas of France: From Brittany and Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast to Lyon and Grenoble in the east.

The social categories that voted for each fully confirm this "social class" results: The best score for Le Pen came from workers: 37%; while Macron only got 16% workers; the lowest vote for Le Pen were management 14% which represented the highest vote for Macron: 33%. Another figure confirming this was the fact that Macron won generally in the larger cities, while Le Pen won in the poorer suburban and rural areas. Typical was Paris where Macron won a whopping 35%, while Le Pen only got 5%. Finally it is interesting to look at where the vote of the pensioners went, because they tend to be those who want to take the least risk: 45% voted for Fillon, 27% for Macron and 10% for Le Pen.