First round knock-down: Nicolas Sarkozy’s party takes a battering in France’s regional elections

The Economist
March 15, 2010

He may have steeled himself for a poor result in the first round of French regional elections, held on Sunday March 14th. But the outcome for France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, must nonetheless have felt crushing. Polls had suggested that his ruling UMP party would be neck-and-neck at this point with the opposition Socialists. Instead, the Socialists bagged fully 30%, with the UMP trailing at 26%. At the second round vote next Sunday, Mr Sarkozy can now hope at best simply to hold on to Alsace and Corsica, the only two regions out of 22 in France which the UMP governs. At worst, he might even lose both.