The traditional right has been dealt a blow in the south of France during the first round of presidential elections with over two thirds of communes in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var casting their ballots in favour of Marine Le Pen and far-right political group the Front National. Le Pen received almost a third of all votes to come ahead of conservative candidate François Fillon and centrist Emmanuel Macron.
How the Côte d'Azur voted in the first round of the French presidential elections
Centrist Emmanuel Macron, who launched En Marche! - his own liberal-socialist party - just last year, has come in poll position across France. In the Côte d’Azur, however, he has only achieved a paltry third place with just 19.04% of the vote in the Alpes-Maritimes and 17.72% in the Var
This southeast area of France almost always votes in favour of France’s main conservative party, Les Républicains, but that strength of support (which was more in favour of former president Nicolas Sarkozy and ex-prime minister Alain Juppé than current party leader François Fillon at the end of last year) seems to have slipped dramatically.
In the first round of the 2012 elections, the Front National and their leader secured second place in both neighbouring departments. The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var overwhelming voted for Nicolas Sarkozy and the Les Républicains party (37.19% in the AM and 34.83% in the Var), while the FN came a solid second with a 23.50% and 24.83% share of the votes respectively.
Now that stance has been reversed, with Le Pen and her far-right party garnering significantly higher support than the area’s traditional right-wing affiliations: the FN received 2,000 more votes in the Alpes-Maritimes (to earn a total 27.75% share of votes) than Fillon’s party and over 34,000 more votes in the Var (30.45% share of all votes). In total, 109 out of 163 communes in the Alpes-Maritimes have been victories for Le Pen, while the number is even higher in the Var.
Back in 2012, the Socialists, led by exiting French president François Hollande, took home third with 19.21% in the Alpes-Maritimes and 19.65% in the Var compared to a dismal 3.58% and 3.44% in the two departments in the 2017 first round, which took place on 23rd April. Young leader Benoît Hamon has been largely ignored by voters.
Voter tendencies in the French Riviera
Alpes-Maritimes voting tendance statistics have revealed that: 27.75% voted for the extreme-right; 31.67% have voted for the right; 19.94% have voted centre; 18.54% voted for the left; 0.91% for the extreme-left; and 1.19% have been classified as ‘undefined’.
Voting tendencies in the Var: 30.45% for the extreme-right; 29.64% for the right; 18.85% of voters identified with the centre; 18.81% with the left; 1.13% voted extreme-left; and 1.11% are ‘undefined’.
In Nice, voters elected to support Fillon and Les Républicains,who have long had a stronghold here, with 26.10% of the vote then Le Pen (25.28%) and Macron (20.52%). In Antibes: Fillon achieved 31.61% while Le Pen got 23.99% and Macron 20.57%. In Cannes: Les Républicains and Fillon managed 34.81% of the vote, Le Pen 25.11% and Macron 18.07%. Most of the coast voted in favour of Fillon, apart from the communes of Golfe-Juan-Vallauris, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Menton, who voted for the Front National.
Only the five communes of Valbonne-Sophia Antipolis, Gars, Thiéry, Villeneuve-d’Entraunes and Entraunes voted in favour of national favourite Macron; the latter four communes are all to be found in the far-flung mountainous regions of the Alpes-Maritimes. The Socialists failed to pick up any communes while Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his La France Insoumise party won in Saorge, Saint-Léger, Puget-Rostang, La Penne and Briançonnet.
In the Var, almost the entire map of communes is marked in the dark navy of the Front National including Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer and Fréjus (the first, second and fourth largest communes in the Var). Macron won one commune: Châteauvert. Mélenchon won three: Correns, Trigance and Bargème. Coastal communities such as Hyères (third largest commune in the Var), Bormes-les-Mimosas, Le Lavandou, Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez, Grimaud, Sainte-Maxime and Saint-Raphaël voted for Fillon.