Here in the south east of France we remain as blue as blue can be (see post a week ago), with every single Alpes Maritimes constituency being UMP (or ally) and every one in the Var too, as well as one of the two in the inland Alpes de Haute Provence department. Unforunately for President Sloshko elsewhere in France his blue wave fell somewhat shorter and so, although the UMP did retain a comfortable margin of victory (314 UMP seats plus about 32 allies out of 577 total), it wasn't the 400-500 seat blowout that looked possible a week ago. Indeed the Socialists gained some 50 seats compared to their results in 2002, which makes them the winners in terms of swing - but not the real winners because they still fell 100 seats short of the numbers required for a majority.
The excellent news though is that convicted crook, pal of Chirac and former PM, Alain Juppé, who was appointed as a minister by Sloshko, failed to win his seat nad has resigned from the cabinet. This news goes hand in hand with the fact that Chirac is now no longer immune from prosecution so Inspecteur Knackeur should be knokcing on his door any day now to ask him to answer a few questions.
Back to the elections. Why did Sarko's blue wave fall short? Well there are a bunch of reasons from low turnout to a generally pronounced belief that a few checks and balances are a good thing that may have helped but the most likely reason is that the economy minister opened his mouth last week and said that he'll probably have to raise VAT to balance the books since Sarko has stated he wishes to reduce income tax and social charges to make it less expensive to employ people. Sarko did his best at damage control after his return from EU diplomacy in Poland but it looks like it wasn't enough.
On the other hand though Sarko looks like he will find it easier to maneover during the summer as the Socialists have now officially formed a circular firing squad. Sego has stated that she has split up with her non-hubby François Hollande (there was some argument about who should wear the skirt in the relationship apparently) and all the "elephants" of the socialist party are now joining in the fray to declare that had only the socialists followed their advice they would have won. So, since Sarko will face little or no sane criticism by opposition politicians, the opposition is likely to come from the loony fringe and Sarko is sure to welcome that as being proof that he is right.
I should note that, despite my posts during the campaign in favour of Sarko, I agree with the dissident frogman that comparisons between him and Thatcher or Reagan are overstated. Comparisons between him and Bush (either) are probably fairly accurate though, although I suspect Sarko is smarter, less loyal and more devious than either Bush. In fact the closest anglo-saxon political figures that Sarko resembles are probably Pres W Clinton and PM A Blair... The reason why I was so strongly in favour of Sarko compared to Bayrou or Sego was that the latter two were destined to lead France to total destruction in a short time, Sarko may manage to turn things around and may be the enabler that lets a real French Thatcher or Reagan appear.
(X-posted at my own blog)