'Historic' Win for Left In Paris

photo: terraces bastille, wednesday

A couple of days before the polls opened, at Bastille.

Bertrand Delanoë To Be Named Mayor

UPDATE:- Paris:- Monday, 19. February 2001:- After the ballots were counted following yesterday's second round of the municipal elections, ex-mayor Jean Tiberi announced that he would begin his reelection campaign for Mayor of Paris today.

Possibly somewhat to the surprise of the major right-wing parties, he also self-proclaimed himself as their 'leader of the opposition' in the newly elected Paris city council.

The undisputed leader of the Tiberi faction of the RPR, saw only two of his lists triumph yesterday - in his personal stronghold of the 5th arrondissement, and in the 1st.

The main group of combined right-wing forces, led by Philippe Séguin, managed not to lose six other arrondissements.

In what Le Parisien today calls a 'historic' victory, the combined leftist forces composed of Socialists, Communists and 'Les Verts' - the Green party - captured control of 12 arrondissements, six more than held previously.

When the Council of Paris meets in a week to officially select the head mayor of all Paris, the winnersphoto: bertrand delanoe will control 92 seats out of a total of 163 - which will ensure that Bertrand Delanoë becomes Paris' next mayor.

Last night the area of the Hôtel de Ville was blocked off to allow vote fans to celebrate. As results were posted they began chanting, 'We want the keys.' The weather was overcast, breezy and cool. Shortly after midnight Mr Delanoë arrived to greet his supporters.

Bertrand Delanoë, Paris' next mayor.

The musical entertainment began shortly afterwards, but the less than huge crowd did not stay long. The private TV station TF1 abandoned its election night coverage to show a film at 22:20 and France-2 TV ended its coverage at 22:45, leaving only France-3 to carry on until after midnight.

Except in Lyon, which also went left, the right-wing parties did well in the rest of France generally, with the Socialists losing some of their long-time strongholds.

Government ministers who were running for local seats did not do well either. Minister of Education Jack Lang, lost his long-time place as mayor of Blois. He announced that this will enable him to devote himself '100 percent' to the education hotseat.

In Paris, within the right's camp, it remains to be seen whether Jean Tiberi's 'leader of the opposition' declaration will be accepted with as little enthusiasm as his self-proclaimed candidature for reelection as Paris' mayor.

But political infighting on the right will no longer be as important to Parisians, because the left will be running Paris for at least the next six years.


Parisians Vote In Rain

Nobody Gets Elected

Paris:- Sunday, 11. February 2001:- Tonight's tally of ballots for today's first-round of the municipal elections has produced a result less rosy for the Socialists than polls predicted. All the same, the leftist list headed by Bertrand Delanoë scored 32 percent citywide.

The main rightist list, headed by nationally known Philippe Séguin came in second with 25 percent. The dissident rightist list, led by Paris' soon- to-be-former mayor, Jean Tiberi, scored 13 percent.

With this, the out-going mayor got about what polls predicted, but the left-leaning 'Verts' did better than expected, with 12.5 percent.

The ultra-nationalists, divided into at least two lists, only got half of their modest 1995 score, and were out-voted by those few who favor the extreme-left.

This first round of voting resulted in nobody gettingphoto: vote ecolo poster elected in Paris. This means that all 'lists' of candidates that scored less than ten percent are out of the contest.

It also means that the Socialists and their list-partners have to come to terms with the triumphant 'Verts' before the second and winner-take-all round of balloting next Sunday.

Going into the elections, right-wing parties had control of 14 arrondissements and the left had majorities in six. With no absolute majorities today, the left appears to be poised to win nine arrondissements, while the right is in the same position in five.

In six arrondissements, there will be close three or four-way races next Sunday. In four of these, lists supporting Jean Tiberi are in positions to swing the balance in favor of the main right-wing 'lists.'

The horse-trading in the smoke-filled 'back rooms' begins late tonight. In almost all of the close arrondissements, the 'Verts' have scored as much or more than the Tiberi-loyal lists - and their 'natural' allies are the Socialist-dominated leftist lists.

The rate of abstention has been considered high at 38 percent. On the other hand, 62.5 percent of registered Parisian voters went out in the rain, to participate in the 'Battle for Paris.'

The left didn't get the landslide some people had been dreaming of. Jean Tiberi's dissident faction wasn't reduced to pulp. The balloting's big surprise was the strong showing by 'Les Verts.'

Paris isn't going to change from blue to completely pink next Sunday, but it may turn out to be 'greener' than anybody has foreseen. The greens' number two in France and number one in Paris, Yves Contassot, is happy tonight.

TV's Score

In Paris, polling stations closed at 20:00, just in time for my habitual France-2 TV to begin its election coverage at 19:50. Municipal and cantonal elections were held today throughout France, so it was not possible to get a concentration of Paris results from the national networks.

The coverage was a potpourri of results from Lyon's several arrondissements mixed in with scoresphoto: cafe barrio latino, interior from places like Sarran in the Corrèze, where Bernadette Chirac was re-elected municipal councilor on the first try.

The interior of a modest café called the Barrio Latino.

'Cantons' were also up for grabs, and the right should capture nine out of 17 in the Corrèze, maintaining this electoral 'fief' for France's president. This also blocked the advance of the Socialist party's national secretary, François Hollande. But he did manage to win the mayor's slot in the town of Tulle outright.

In France, holding multiple elective offices is fairly common, especially for national figures. The current Minister of Employment, Elizabeth Guigou, tried to parachute into Avignon and received a rude surprise when her RPR competitor came within a hair of an absolute majority.

Jack Lang, longtime mayor of Blois, probably suffered from recently accepting the additional job as Minister of Education - plus having had a brief flirt with the Paris elections. He will have to cross his fingers when trying again next Sunday.

The 'Verts,' who generally did well, saw their national leader and Minister of the Environment, Dominique Voynet, stopped cold in an attempt for the mayor's seat in Dole in the Jura. The same thing happened to the popular - and Communist - Minister of Transports, Jean-Claude Gayssot, in Béziers.

The message in these cases was not anti-Socialist, but more of a desire expressed by voters to have full-time mayors.

Meanwhile, watching TV, early and inconclusive results came in from hither and yon around France, with only a rare mention ofphoto: barrio latino, bar the 'Battle for Paris' raging right outside my door.

Ultra-right wing leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was televised on several channels from the FN's party headquarters in Saint-Cloud, insisted that he was not invited to any of the election night TV studio broadcasts.

The main bar in the Barrio Latino. Note handy bar-roll of paper.

France-2's Claude Sérillon said he certainly had been. Le Pen then said, "C'est une méthode soviétique!" Slightly later for the news channel LCI he said, "Ce sont là des procédes sovietoïdes."

The politicians who were actually in the TV studios usually had thoughtful things to say - which has been a bit of a relief from all the reports from the country, which seemed to barge in with partial results from Podunque-la-Ville without warning.

'Erased' Voters

Apparently quite a number of good and honest citizens showed up at Paris polling stations with the intention of voting today only to find that they had been stricken from the voters' lists.

Many of these were victims of Paris' fake-voter scandals, which have erased 120,000 voters from the lists. Nine thousand were removed from the 14th arrondissement's lists and 10,000 from the 18th's.

Electoral judges were on hand - outnumbered! - in the polling stations, but very few of those 'erased' were allowed to vote.

Voters who change addresses, even if it is only to move across the street, must signal the change to the voter registration offices in each Mairie.

Municipal elections are only held every six years, so if a voter has moved, he or she may not get the registered letter asking them to confirm their place on the list, or warning them they are to be removed from the list if they don't show any signs of life.

Unanswered registered letters are returned to the sender, and then the erasers rub out the vanished.

Round Two - Next Sunday

After the ballots are tallied and after elimination of the marginal 'lists,' those remaining in the running - are out and running after votes again.

There are only six short days and nights until the voters return to the polling stations, and this time around, it will be winner-takes-all.

In today's first round, it has required 50.1 percent of the votes to be declared a winner. Next Sunday, in three or four-way races, whoever gets the most votes will win.

Other News

Vital News, Completely Worthless Non-News and the Sports Headline of the Week have been dropped from this edition - not because they are insignificant, but because I haven't got them handy.

Web Life - Modest 'ThankYous'

Good Intentions

Ian McMahan has written to say that he intends to become a 'faithful' Metropole reader, and has added that he has an online photo-essay of the vendange at Jacques Melac's wine bar in the 11th arrondissement for everybody to see.

Exciting Frango Update

Larry Wechsler, a bona-fide Café Metropole Club member in good standing has sent the following important bulletin from Seattle - "Frangos were actually invented in Seattlephoto: bar a soupes, r charonne and were an institution here until our beloved Frederick and Nelson department store went out of business a few years back.

One of Paris' more unusual 'theme' cafés, in the Rue de Charonne.

"Marshall Field's may have 'acquired' the rights to market Frangos, but club members should not be deluded into thinking that the candies are some fancy east coast confection. Ah, the good old days, when we had Starbucks and Frangos all to ourselves. Here are the gory details."

In addition to the 'thankyou' to Ian McMahan, another one goes for Larry for this update. The 'news' concerning Chicago's location on the 'east coast' may be important to some readers.

Your Paris Web URLs

If you have any favorite Paris Web sites you think other readers should know about, please send them in. If they haven't been featured before and they don't crash my browser, you'll get a modest 'thankyou' here.

The Big Catalogue - Repeat

This is not La Redoute's or Trois-Suisses' combined mailorder catalogues, but the catalogue of catalogues for books in French. This 'repeat' is in order because at least one reader has found a long-sought book through it. Called the 'Catalogue Collectif de France,' it unites the catalogues of the Bibliothèque Nationale, the university libraries, and 55 specialized libraries around France. This site is relatively new. Its ambition is also to provide documents on demand, but this is still in the works.

Work In France?

I have just been informed by one of the server-lady's hard-working - in France! - minions that the ever-busy WFI micro-conglomo down at the Cadillac Ranch has launched a new guide, called Working and Living In France: The Ins and Outs, which is their latest in the 'Paris Insider Guides' series. There are probably tips in this that even I can use, such as finding out whether I can get a discount for shamelessly plugging it.

Winter Sports News

As of today, 'winter' is about 81 days old. Snow, if there is any, may be a bit less fluffy, with the warmerphoto: posters, cour damoye air that has installed itself - increasing avalanche dangers to high levels. Still, if you are interested in the state of snow at French winter sports stations, try hitting the Hiver, SkiFrance and Net4Ski Web sites. Also check out ex-ski champion Edgar Grospiron's site, called Ridearth.

Looking for original posters? Take a look at the 'Grand Monde' item in this issue's 'Scene' column.

The 'Unofficial' Weather - 92.5% 'Winter'

According to a little ticket I found next to my boulangerie's cash register, Météo Consult knows that Paris has an average of 12 rainy days per month during winter - And! - 10 days with sun for at least 60 percent of the day. These are considered 'sunny' days even if the other 40 percent of them is non-stop downpour. According to the info on the card, Paris also has no spring or fall seasons, and I don't find this hard to believe.

The 'Official' Weather - 92.5% 'Winter'

Last week saw Paris getting a taste of real rain and who knows how long it will last? Answer - never for long. Temperatures are still predicted to be warm 'for this time of year.' For real forecasts, give the Météo France site a hit. Predictions are usually fairly shortrange because Météo France doesn't have any crystal balls to compare with the TV-weather news.

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