THE MOST important feature of the elections was that they were a sanction against the right wing government.
For the last two years since that government came in it has pushed attacks on social conditions, on pensions, privatisation, on the unemployed, on workers. This has provoked deep discontent, and Sunday's first round of voting in the regional elections expressed that. Two thirds of people voted against the government, which got just 34 percent of votes.
The beneficiaries were the main opposition Socialist Party, and to a lesser extent parties which have been allied to it-the Greens and Communist Party. Altogether these parties got 40 percent of votes. The far right National Front vote stayed at a very high level, 17.5 percent.
They feed off the same discontent and the way the governments of left and right have presided over social misery and insecurity, and they present themselves as an anti-system party. The far left, ourselves in the LCR and the other main organisation, LO, ran a joint campaign. The results, around 5 percent, were honourable and showed we occupy a significant political space.
It was also a small step forward from the scores we got in the last regional elections in 1998. But we didn't find the kind of echo we got in the 2002 presidential elections when between our two candidates we got over 9 percent of votes. The campaign was a success, with lots of big meetings, but it didn't translate into votes in that way.
We are discussing and learning the lessons of that. The Socialist Party pushed the argument that the only effective vote to punish the right wing government was to vote for it. That had an effect. Now we have two tasks.
On the electoral front there are the 10 June European elections, where we hope to do better. The second is of course that we will be pushing for and organising social resistance and mobilisation to the government's plans to push its attacks, such as on the social security system.