Sunday, June 17, 2007

Polls Blow French Parliament Vote

Did anyone believe the French left would wise up and stop fighting for power? There are a lot of people invested in the welfare state and they are not going to let even common sense adjustments go unchallenged. Sarkozy will have a majority to work with but the leftists are gaining Parliamentary seats following elections today.

Sarkozy's parliamentary majority smaller than expected: Official results Monday morning gave French President Nicolas Sarkozy a majority in the parliamentary election run-off, but it was not as large as he had hoped for or polls had predicted. … The results are no-doubt disappointing for Sarkozy, as they represent a net loss of about 44 seats for the UMP compared to the number the party held in the outgoing National Assembly. In addition, the opposition Socialist Party gained 36 seats, to 185.

The new French President will retain about a 100 seat majority and intends to proceed with his tax cut plan which motivated the socialist base to turn out in mass this election. French expatriate Daniel at Venezuela News and Views agrees the handling of the tax issue backfired on Sarkozy's party.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: The reason is quite simple. When the new Fillon cabinet was named a month ago it started by a program of tax incentives that, no matter how the UMP tried to hide it, favored folks who already had some money. The idea was of course to try to promote more investment in France and boost the economy growth. It did work in some countries and it certainly was worth trying in France which seemed blocked for years.

The problem is that such a loss of income must be compensated from somewhere, even more so in a welfare state of the size of France. The right had no better idea than to leak a possible increase in sales tax, and clumsily labeling it "social sales tax".

The right wing bungling a message delivered to the public. Another failure to understand how voters react to words and phrases. What a shock.