Monday, March 23, 2015

Basque Nationalist Left grows big in departmental elections

The Basque Nationalist Left coalition EH Bai collected 16% of the popular vote in the region of the Basque Country annexed to France, consolidating itself as the third largest political force after the French Twin Party, so far resilient. EH Bai candidates have therefore reached the second round in almost half of the cantons, where they will have an opportunity to be elected to represent their cantons in the council of the Atlantic Pyrenees department imposed by Paris.

The conservative section of the French Twin Party, running under the acronym "Forces 64 + UMP" won the support of 34% of Northern Basques, while the pseudo-left branch known as Socialist Party, did not reach 20% of popular support. 

As usual, the Fascist FN performed quite worse in the Basque Country than in other parts of the Republic, collecting only 13% of the votes, with 11% of the votes going to other all-France options and a mere 1% to the Basque Nationalist Right (EAJ-PNB). 

The five cantons in which the Nationalists will be able to contend the second round are:
  • Errobi-Aturri: 34%, (vs the Fascists, 17%)
  • Bidaxune-Amikuze-Ostibarre: 23% (vs French Right, 44%)
  • Euskal Mendialdea (Basque Mountains): 22% (vs French Right, 29%)
  • Ustaritze-Errobi-Urdazuri: 17% (vs French Right, 28%)
  • Donibane-Lohizune (aka St. Jean de Luz): 15% (vs. French Right, 29%)
Together these cantons make up the bulk of the Northern Basque Country in area, even if not in population, as this map evidences:

Red: EH Bai will be in the second round
Dark Red: EH Bai leads and will probably win in the second round
Bluish: other cases

While in Errobi-Aturri, the division of the Unionist Right favored the Basque Nationalists (as well as the Fascists), in Baigura & Mondarrain a similar intestine competition was not enough and EH Bai could only reach third place with 18% of the vote. Another third place with 14% of the vote was reached in Hendaia. 

The performance was less notable in the Baiona-Miarritze urban area of the Northwest, reaching 6-8% in each of the electoral districts. 

The French electoral system heavily punishes minority options (even if not as extremely as the Anglosaxon one) denying vast sections of the people the right to be represented proportionally, what suggests that the system is not really intended to be democratic but a mere pretense. 

In any case, against all the odds, the Basque Nationalist Left has shown to be a major contender that keeps rallying more and more Northern Basques against the sclerosis of the unionist Twin Party regime. 

North of the Adur...

Preliminary results suggest that the Twin Party wins, no surprises. Anecdotally it is again the turn of the Right-wing brand, which gathers 29-32% , while the pseudo-Left brand manages to hold 19-25% of consumer fidelity (which can grow to 29-32% in the second round as the more serious left routinely surrenders its radicalism to the "lesser evil"). The Fascist FN keeps that 25% conquered in previous elections but makes no further gains, maybe because the establishment sees Le Pen as too pro-Russian to be trusted.

Sources: Gara (detailed results in PDF), Kazeta, EH Bai

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