The famous official electoral signs will soon appear in the towns and villages of France. - SEBASTIEN SALOM GOMIS / SIPA
- The Ministry of the Interior asked in particular the prefectures to no longer assign political labels to the candidate lists in the municipalities of less than 9,000 inhabitants and inhabitants.
- The opposition cries out for manipulation, in a context where LREM has little presence in rural areas.
- If this controversy may seem a little expected, it also points to the shortcomings in the organization of elections in France.
Is the Republic on the march trying to hide possible bad results at the next municipal elections? This is what the opposition, right and left, think against a new circular from the Ministry of the Interior. What is she saying ? Mainly two things. First, the organizing department of the elections in France orders the prefectures to no longer give any political label to the lists presented to the municipal authorities in municipalities with less than 9,000 inhabitants and inhabitants.
Finally, the electoral big bang in 2017 obliges, new labels are created, including DVC: "various center" therefore joins the more traditional names "various left" and "various right". Except that even lists supported from afar by La République en Marche could be stamped DVC.
"A big information problem"
For the different opposition parties LREM seeks, on the one hand, to hide its weaknesses in small towns. The presidential party is indeed better represented in the big cities. Also, its results are better there than elsewhere, if we take for example the European elections. On the other hand, it is about maximizing its results in medium-sized cities where LREM cannot present lists but has given support, or to some candidates on a list.
For Pascal Perrineau, professor at Sciences po Paris, this directive poses two problems. Firstly, on the stopping of labeling in municipalities with less than 9,000 inhabitants and inhabitants: "We put a limit at 9,000 without giving reasons, whereas it was so far at 3,500 and even 1,000 inhabitants in 2014. Where we felt that above these thresholds we were really on less partisan issues. But that still means that here we remove 50% of the electorate from the analysis. I do not believe in manipulation, but we have a big information problem there. "
However, we can still see at the municipal level what the big political families represent thanks to the national tabulations, estimates Pascal Perrineau. Even if the national media, they focus on a few big cities. Aren't we going to add carrots with cabbage? No: “These are all the same data that we can rely on. There was a nationalization of municipal elections under the Fifth Republic. And even if this time we can imagine a relocation, that does not prevent being able to make a little fine analyzes. "
Finally, on the "various center" lists, the one who has long directed Cevipof (whose job is precisely electoral analyzes), speaks of "misery" for a party, La République en Marche, poorly established locally. "Justifying a weak result in small municipalities because we are a young party and not yet very established has nothing infamous", judge Pascal Perrineau.
Nothing, however, very new in the voting booths. The challenge to the method of collecting results before the elections is even a kind of figure imposed in French political life. Jill Royer, digital manager at La France insoumise, still remembers the municipal elections of 2014, with the PS in power: "At the time, the Ministry of the Interior did not want to put the label" Front de gauche "as soon as One of the fifteen components of the coalition was missing and many of our lists were marked "various left". "
Because making agglomerations of results on municipal elections was already difficult before: very many lists were already called "various" or "unlabeled" by the prefectures before this new directive of 2020. Including for lists known by local journalists as clearly on the right or clearly on the left. In short, anyone who has already put their nose in the data of the Ministry of the Interior will tell you that it is already quite bad.
A more global problem
This is what the La Croix journalist, specialist in electoral analysis Laurent de Boissieu, says. Before delivering his analyzes, he reworked each of the labels assigned in detail. An already considerable analysis for the departmental or legislative, but downright inhuman for the municipal. Thus, he has been advocating for a long time for a "rationalization of the electoral offer". In any case from its nomenclature.
Advocacy for the rationalization of the electoral offer (@RevuePol)
➡️ https://t.co/QoS6t03NWq https://t.co/QtoPmUiQOx
In 2014, Jill Royer had voluntarily tried to pick up the results “but the data, admittedly sent quickly, are not directly exploitable. At the Left Party at the time, we had to create data ourselves not only to challenge official labeling but also to have something to offer the media. With these methods, the possibilities of oppositions are reduced, ”says Jill Royer, who sees the question of labeling as a real“ political question ”.
This controversy, somewhat agreed, nevertheless highlights the shortcomings of the organization of elections in France, compared to what can happen in other comparable democratic countries. The head of digital insubordinate France believes that the government is in full "conflict of interest" by entrusting the organization of elections to the Ministry of the Interior. Without having a precise idea on what could compensate for this task, Jill Royer speaks of an “independent body”, just like Laurent de Boissieu. This exists in Australia or Canada, among others.
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- Ministry of the Interior
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