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Night of a thousand cuts for French left

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Night of a thousand cuts for French left

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Nicolas Sarkozy and his ruling Conservative party in France, the UMP, have triumphed by stealing the left’s clothes and calling for a “new kind” of capitalism, winning 28.3% of the vote.

The Socialists, in disarray already from in-fighting polled 17.5% of the vote, whilst an environmental coalition came third with 14.8%. The Centrists leader Francois Bayrou only managed to poll 8.7%. Sarkozy’s win is however less a vote of confidence in him and more a reflection of the splintered nature of the opposition. Taken together the left wing polled far more than Sarkozy but as is often the case with the left in French politics, failed to mobilise as the centre left and the extreme left struggle for dominance. Turnout was in the region of 40%, the lowest since 1979.