French Socialists win majority in France's Senate for first time in 50 years

While the American left is still wondering whether to characterize itself as "green," "progressive," or something else, the developed capitalist countries are moving to the left and firmly announcing that the objective is socialism. The major capitalist publications in the USA, including Bloomberg Business Week, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, are paying closer and closer attention to the analysis by Karl Marx of the crisis-prone system of capitalist accumulation, production, and destruction.

Below is a preliminary report from France that came in on September 26, 2011:

French Left Marks Historic Senate Vote Victory

By Elaine Ganley Associated Press September 25, 2011

France's left wrested the Senate from the right in

indirect elections Sunday, taking the majority of seats

in the upper house of parliament for the first time in

more than 50 years -- a blow to conservative President

Nicolas Sarkozy.

Seven months before presidential elections, Sarkozy's

party downplayed what it said was a narrow win -- up to

three seats, according to various officials of the

president's party.

The minister for parliamentary relations, Patrick

Ollier, said the results have "no national political

significance." Final results of the voting to fill half

the seats in the 348-seat house were not in, but the

Socialist's leader in the Senate announced the victory.

"This is a day that will mark history," Jean-Pierre

Bel, head of the Senate's Socialist group, announced in

the gilded hall of the 17th-century palace.

The Senate president has a consequential role under the

French Constitution -- as interim leader should the

nation's president become incapacitated.

The upper house of parliament, a sumptuous 17th century

palace at the foot of the Luxembourg Gardens, is

sometimes derided as an institution that specializes in

handing out rubber stamps. Nevertheless, it is an axis

of power that can initiate bills and, above all, slow

down their passage.

The right had controlled the Senate since the start of

the Fifth Republic in 1958.

"For the first time, change is in motion ... This is a

real affront to the right," Bel said.

He estimated the left won 24 to 26 new seats. It needed

23 seats to gain a majority. Final results were not

immediately expected.

The result further chisels down the profile of the

already unpopular Sarkozy. It also provides the

Socialist Party with prestige and political capital.

Senate President Gerard Larcher, of Sarkozy's party,

conceded the left "made a real push ... larger than I

thought" -- but said he would seek to renew his mandate

as Senate president.

Leading members of Sarkozy's Union for a Popular

Movement party, known as UMP, made a bid to save face,

and power, putting the accent on the Oct. 1 vote for

the president of the chamber because of the left's thin

victory margin.

Socialists attributed their success to discontent in

France's towns and rural heartland, the home bases of

the 71,890 delegates, regionally and locally elected

officials, who cast ballots to fill the 170 seats.

Senators elected Sunday have six-year mandates.

Jean-Francois Cope, head of Sarkozy's UMP, said the

election results were "a disappointment but not a


"In no way is it a disavowal of the politics of the

government," he said.

In the presidential elections, the "totality of voters"

will take part -- not delegates voting to fill half a

chamber, he said.

The Socialists went into the elections confident

because of the string of leftist victories in regional

and local elections since 2008. The Socialist Party

elections chief Christophe Borgel said earlier that

local officials "have the feeling of being held in


A 2010 territorial reform will put several thousand

regional and general counselors out of jobs. Some of

these officials already complain that government funds

aren't keeping up with increased responsibilities

handed over to regions in a 2004 reform.

Francois Hollande, a favorite among a half-dozen

Socialists seeking the party's presidential candidacy,

said a leftist Senate majority would serve well a

Socialist president because "it will be the first time

there is a possibility to work with a leftist majority

in the Senate."

Sarkozy will not be the first president to preside over

the nation with opponents in control of at least one

house of parliament.

Socialist President Francois Mitterrand dealt for each

of his 14 years in office with his political rivals in

the Senate and was forced to cohabit during part of his

mandate with a conservative prime minister, Jacques

Chirac, who succeeded him as president.


Cecile Brisson contributed to this report.


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