The strong swing back to the right – already blatantly clear in the various surveys and polls – is now starting to be felt where it counts; starting with the Senate
Three years after the Left took control of the French Upper House, things have swung in the other direction with a crushing victory for the right in French politics.
The opposition UMP and UDI have retaken the Senate with 188 seats – 13 more than is needed for an absolute majority. The UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire – the party of Nicolas Sarkozy) went from 130 to 147 seats while the UDI (Union des Démocrates et Indépendants) jumped from 31 to 41 seats.
There was nothing unexpected about this result, coming in the immediate aftermath of Sarkozy’s triumphant return to politics and following the debacle of the ruling Socialist Party (PS) both in the municipal elections in March and the European elections in May.
The other notable event in this Senate election is the arrival in the French Upper House for the first time of elected representatives from the very right-wing Front National. Two of their number will be travelling up from the deep south to take their seats in the Palais du Luxembourg – Stéphane Ravier from the Bouches-du-Rhône department et David Rachline from the Var.
Another symbolic blow for François Hollande is the loss of the two seats he held in his home department of Corrèze, including that of his friend and mayor of Tulle (formerly Hollande’s bastion) Bernard Combes.