On Sunday there were what are called cantonale elections in France. They were for around half the seats in the département,(French wiki) here the Bas-Rhin.(wiki) Explaining the different levels of French Government would be a much longer exercise than I plan here but the département lies below the region and above the city.
Of the 23 cantons having elections in the Bas-Rhin two elected candidates on Sunday with the remaining 21 elections to be decided by a run-off between the first two candidates.
A lot has ben made internationally of the surge of the Front Nationale(FN) to come third with 15% of the poll nationally behind the Parti Socialiste(PS) and President Sarkozy’s UMP (17%), One aspect highlighted in the article linked to is the number of races in France where the FN are second and in the run-off, 400. In Bas-Rhin the FN are the main opponents in the run-off in 8 of the 21 elections as can be seen in the full list of second round races here or below.(Click on the display to see it full size.)
One of the main areas of interest has been around the result has been in the canton in which I live, in Strasbourg 2.(Gare – Halles – Finkwiller) Here the candidate for the Greens has come second behind the sitting candidate for the PS, Jean-Jacques Gsell. As a result of the Strasbourg city council being run by a coalition between the PS and the Greens the latter have a number of Adjoint, or Deputy Mayors, and the person challenging the incumbent is one of these Deputy Mayors. The Mayor of Strasbourg has waded in and called upon the Green candidate to respect the collaboration on the Strasbourg council step down from the second round. You can read her reaction and that of the incumbent here. The piece has lots of western imagery referring to the film ‘The Train whistles Three Times’ which is on rotation on one of the film channels here and casting the Mayor as the Sheriff.
Finally, from the other département in Alsace here is a picture of the run-off in Andolsheim where the contest is between the party of Mr Sarkozy and fascist Elvis impersonator: