Political maneuvering to keep the extreme right out of power in the French regionals

The far right did well in the first round of regional elections, but the rest of France hasn’t given up the fight.

Screenshot 2015-12-09 07.27.24
“If the left and the right don’t manage to get along in order to obstruct the extreme right, there will be reason to lose hope in our politicians.” Picture source: Twitter screenshot.

The Word Of The Day in France is faire barrage.  WordReference.com translates it as “to stand in the way, to obstruct.”  Sunday was the first tour–the first round of votes–in the 2015 regional elections.  The second tour will be this weekend.  In the first tour, there were an enormous number of parties participating.  In the second tour, only the three highest-scoring parties in any région can participate.  The far-right National Front party had a huge showing in the first tour.  The left and the center right share a concern with stopping it in the second tour, and there are many strategies to faire barrage à the National Front–to block it (from taking power).  For example, in a number of areas of France, the Socialist party is urging its members to vote for the center-right Les Républicains–normally their sworn enemies, but if it will keep the far right out of office, the Socialist prime minister will support it. Consequently, the expression faire barrage is all over the news this week.  The center right is saying that it won’t join with the left, but it’s the one that’s benefitting, so presumably this is going to happen.  I hope…

  • le barrage: dam, floodwall; barrier, roadblock.  (There’s also a sports-related meaning that I don’t even understand in English.)
  • faire barrage (à): to stand in the way (of), to obstruct.

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