“The Government cannot remain deaf to the message of the voters. Nothing would be worse than to underestimate the extent of the defeat. Nothing could be more dangerous than to err in analyzing the causes. The problem is not ‘methodological’, it is political. The central issue is a rejection of austerity. This is not about sending Left signals to our electorate, we must change course. ”
These were the uncompromising words of the left-wing of President Francois Hollande’s socialists after a big losses confirmed in the second round of local elections on Sunday, Le Monde reported.
The opposition UMP claimed victory and the far right celebrated further gains, as early results emerged Sunday night. UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope hailed what he called a “blue wave” of support for his centre-right party. The far-right National Front (FN) was heading for victory in up to seven towns, early results indicated.
The left wing of the Socialist Party, dubbed “Now the left”, led by Regional Councillor Emmanuel Maurel, Senator Marie- Noëlle Lienemann and MP Jerome Guedj – representatives from the Paris and surrounding region, Ile- de- France – launched a direct challenge to the government’s economic policy followed for nearly two years. They say Hollande has gone back on many of the progressive pledges he made during his election campaign.
Hollande had promised to break with the policies of former right-wing President Nicholas Sarkozy, to soak the rich, stand up to big finance and for working people, and reverse austerity at home and in Europe. But he’s let the banks off scott-free, slashed taxes for companies and implemented deep cuts to public spending. And even while ordinary people suffer with unemployment at record levels he’s pushing for weaker work rights. Meanwhile in Europe, Hollande has capitulated to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU-ECB-IMF ‘Troika’.
The left Socialists urged Hollande to change course, loosening his commitment to economically lethal EU budgetary constraints, scrapping his now overtly pro-business agenda and forge a new government majority involving all the forces of the left , including Communists. The Socialists are currently in coalition with the greens, although they stood on a joint electoral lists with the communists in the second round of the elections on Sunday.