- Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:44 am #219849
I've copied your post over to WSC where they were talking about Gard. Hope you don't mind.ezinra wrote:The Gard looks like it will be the first department ever to put the FN in first place. It's not exactly a surprise: the Gard has more than its share of retired people, pieds-noirs, small-town family businesses and artisans, all constituencies for Le Pen. It also has a lot of immigrants from the Maghreb, some of them undocumented (who do much of the seasonal agricultural labour and are paid au noir), and the biggest population of Gypsies in France, concentrated around the pilgrimage site of the black virgin at Les Saintes Marie de la Mer. The FN has put up its highest scores here and in nearby small towns such as Beaucaire and Saint-Gilles: these are working-class areas of light industry, often heavily dependent on a single employer (the Perrier factory is in Vergèzes and Haribo in Uzès) which have been hit by the délocalisation of small-scale manufacturing to eastern Europe and the Far East.
A generation ago, the Gard and especially its chef-lieu, Nîmes, were a cornerstone of the communist vote. Much of the population is descended from Spanish and Italian migrants who left during the Mussolini and Franco years; Nîmes had a communist mayor for 25 years between 1965 and 2001. That vote has collapsed: although Nîmes just about opted for Hollande yesterday, Mélenchon scored only 13%, which is barely above his national average. It seems that many voters who backed the communist party while they were of working age have switched to the FN since they retired or were made redundant. The threat to pensions is seen as double — from the liberalising right wing and a 'wave' of immigrants putting pressure on the public purse, encouraged by the left — and the FN appears as the party most likely to protect them.