French legislative election, 2012

French legislative election, 2012
10 and 17 June 2012

All 577 seats to the National Assembly
289 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Jean-Marc Ayrault Jean-François Copé Cécile Duflot
Leader since 15 May 2012 17 November 2010 16 November 2006
Leader's seat Loire-Atlantique-3rd Seine-et-Marne-6th Paris-6th
Last election 186 seats 313 seats 4 seats
Seats won 280 194 17
Seat change Increase94 Decrease119 Increase13
1st round
% and swing
29.35% Increase 4.7%
27.12% Decrease 16.3%
5.46% Increase 2.21%
2nd round
% and swing
40.91% Decrease 1.4%
37.95% Decrease 8.4%
3.60% Increase 3.15%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Hervé Morin Jean-Michel Baylet Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Leader since 16 May 2008 28 January 1996 18 November 2008
Leader's seat Eure-3rd Did not stand[1] None (stood in Pas-de-Calais' 11th)
Last election 22 seats 7 seats 18 seats
Seats won 12 12 10
Seat change Decrease10 Increase5 Decrease8
1st round
% and swing
2.20% Decrease 0.17%
1.65% Increase 0.33%
6.91% Increase 2.62%
2nd round
% and swing
2.47% Increase 1.30%
2.34% Decrease 0.71%
1.08% Decrease 0.55%

  Seventh party Eighth party
Leader Jean-Louis Borloo Marine Le Pen
Party Radical FN
Leader since 10 December 2005 16 January 2011
Leader's seat Nord-21th none (stood in Pas-de-Calais' 11th)
Last election 0 0 seats
Seats won 6 2
Seat change Increase6 Increase2
1st round
% and swing
1.24% Increase 1.24%
13.60% Increase 9.31%
2nd round
% and swing
1.35% Decrease 1.35%
3.66% Increase 3.58%

Constituency results after the first and second round

Prime Minister before election

Jean-Marc Ayrault

Prime Minister-designate

Jean-Marc Ayrault

Official campaign posters in the 5th constituency of Val-de-Marne. (One of the posters has been partly torn off: a not infrequent occurrence.)

Legislative elections took place on 10 and 17 June 2012 (and on other dates for small numbers of voters outside metropolitan France) to select the members of the 14th National Assembly of the French Fifth Republic – a little over a month after the French presidential election run-off held on 6 May.[2][3]

All 577 single member seats in the assembly, including those representing overseas departments and territories and French residents overseas, were contested using a two-round system.


Presidential election

The elections came a month after the presidential election won by François Hollande of the Socialist Party. Since 2002, legislative elections immediately follow the presidential ones. This was designed to limit the possibility of a cohabitation, whereby the President and his or her Prime Minister, backed by a parliamentary majority, would be of opposite parties. The aim was also to give the new President and his government a "double mandate", the election of the President being followed by that of a parliamentary majority enabling him to implement his policies.[4][5] This is what happened in 2002 and 2007.[6] Thus, in 2012, the Socialist Party has asked French citizens to "confirm" the result of the presidential election; Hollande's campaign director Pierre Moscovici argued it would not make sense to have elected a President only for him to be rendered "powerless" by the legislative election: "This President tomorrow must have a majority with which to govern". By contrast, the Union for a Popular Movement, on the right, has repeatedly asked that the left not be given "all the powers" through this election.[7][8][9][10] The legislative elections in France are often described as the "third round" of the presidential election.[6][8][10][11]

Ethnic and gender pluralism

In order to make possible the election of some candidates of non-European ethnic background (North African, Subsaharan African and West Indian) as well as for female candidates, the Socialist Party had, like in 2007, reserved several constituencies for them, 22 for ethnic minorities and 49% for women.[12][13][14]

At the end of the second round, there were 13 metropolitan deputies with non European ethnic background, including two government members (Kader Arif, former Euro MP, and George Pau-Langevin, already deputy since 2007) who will be replaced by their alternate candidates:

Among the 11 deputies who represent French citizens abroad, one is from Réunion, Corine Narassiguin (PS), another has Chilean roots, Sergio Coronado (EELV) and a third one has Iranian roots, Pouria Amirshahi (PS).

Electoral system

A total of 6,603 candidates ran for the 577 seats, an average of 11 per constituency. Some 40% are women.[15] The law mandates that every party must have between 49 and 51% of women among its candidates, or have their public funding significantly reduced. "Some parties, among the richest, prefer to pay the fine" rather than comply with this rule, according to Libération.[16] The law also does not take electability into account, and significant numbers of women candidates run in constituencies where their party does not stand a real chance.

French expatriates elected their own MPs for the first time – voting early, from 23 to 26 May or on 2 or 3 June for the first round and from 6 to 12 June or on 16 or 17 June for the second, depending on their location and the method by which they cast their ballot. If an expatriate votes via the Internet, he or she has a week to do so from 23 to 26 May. A postal ballot may be cast, if received by 31 May in the Americas or by 1 June in the rest of the world. Those who prefer to vote in person in their local consulate must do so on 2 June in the Americas or 3 June in the rest of the world.[17][18]

The two-round system

Each of the 577 constituencies elects one representative to the National Assembly, in a two-round election. A candidate is elected in the first round if he or she obtains an absolute majority of the vote in his or her constituency and the votes of at least one quarter of all registered voters in the constituency. If a large number of voters abstain, an absolute majority of the vote may thus not be enough, although this rarely happens. (In the 2012 election, one surprising example was in Martinique's 3rd constituency, where incumbent MP Serge Letchimy of the Martinican Progressive Party received 63.29% of the vote, but narrowly failed to be immediately elected due to a very low turnout (30.67%).[19]) If no candidate is elected in the first round, then the two candidates who finished first and second in the first round advance automatically to the second for a runoff. They may be joined by the third- or even fourth-placed candidate; the second round is open to any candidate who has obtained the votes of at least 12.5% of registered voters in the constituency.[20] Low turnouts therefore decrease the likelihood of a three-person runoff (known in France as a triangulaire). In the second round, the candidate who obtains the most votes is elected; an absolute majority is not required. (In the unlikely event of a tie, the elder of the tied candidates is elected.)[21]

Candidates who advance to the second round have the option of withdrawing. Usually this happens in a triangulaire, where the party and/or candidate that finished third in the first round prefers to favour one of the two leading candidates. In the 2012 election, for example, third-placed UMP candidate Roland Chassain in the Bouches-du-Rhônes' 16th constituency withdrew in order to help the National Front candidate defeat the Socialist candidate.[22] In addition, the parties of the mainstream left (Socialist, Greens, Left Front, Radical Party of the Left, various smaller parties) have a long-standing agreement whereby they do not stand against one another in the second round. If two of them advance to the second round in the same constituency, the less-well-placed of the two automatically withdraws. In some cases, this means a triangulaire is avoided, and the left is united against a single right-wing candidate. In the 2012 election, for example, in the Hauts-de-Seine's 11th constituency, incumbent MP and Left Front candidate Marie-Hélène Amiable narrowly finished second (29.20%) behind Socialist candidate Julie Sommaruga (29.93%). Amiable withdrew, supporting Sommaruga in her runoff against New Centre candidate Jean-Loup Metton, who had finished third in the first round with enough support to advance to the second (24.15%). In other cases, this rule means that only one candidate remains in the "second round". Thus, Socialist Najia Amzal withdrew in favour of Left Front candidate and incumbent MP Marie-George Buffet in Seine-Saint-Denis' 4th constituency; Left Front candidate Patrick Le Hyaric withdrew in favour of Socialist candidate Élisabeth Guigou in Seine-Saint-Denis' 6th constituency; Left Front candidate and incumbent MP Pierre Gosnat withdrew in favour of Citizen and Republican Movement candidate Jean-Luc Laurent in the Val-de-Marne's 10th constituency; and Green candidate Stéphane Gatignon withdrew in front of the Left Front's incumbent MP François Asensi in Seine-Saint-Denis' 4th constituency. In all these cases, no candidate of the right, centre or far right had reached the second round, meaning that the best-placed and sole remaining left-wing candidate was guaranteed to be elected in a one-person "runoff".[23]


The Constitutional Council approved in 2010 the first redistricting of electoral boundaries since 1986 to reflect France's changing demographics. The population ratio between the most populated and least populated constituencies was reduced from 1:3.6 to 1:2.[24] A study by Regards Citoyens indicated that the number of seats increased in areas held by the centre-right coalition led by then governing UMP at the expense of the Socialist-led opposition coalition.[25]

Officially, the dual purpose of the redistricting was to ensure a more equal number of voters per constituency, but also to provide seats in the National Assembly to French citizens resident overseas. Thirty-three constituencies were abolished, and thirty-three new ones created. Of the latter, nineteen were in France, while the rest of the world was divided into eleven constituencies for French residents overseas.[26][27]


Main parties and their aims

The Socialist Party aims to obtain the parliamentary majority with which to implement its policies. If the left wins overall, there are three possibilities :

The Union for a Popular Movement officially aims to win the election. Its primary stated aim, however, is to obtain enough seats to prevent the left from having the 3/5ths Congress majority which would enable it to adopt constitutional reforms (such as granting the right to vote to foreign residents in local elections). The UMP's task is complicated by the popularity of the far-right National Front, which the polls indicate could obtain enough support to reach the second round in a large number of constituencies, thus splitting the right-wing vote. (Under French electoral law, in legislative elections, a third party advances to the second round if it obtains the votes of at least 12.5% of registered voters – i.e., including those who abstain.)[28]

The Left Front aims to have a sizable group in Parliament, with which to have meaningful influence on the policies of the Socialist government.[28]

The National Front aims to obtain seats in the Assembly; it has none prior to the election. A secondary aim is to "sow chaos in the UMP" by maintaining candidates in the second round and thus causing the UMP potentially to lose seats. The National Front's stated aim is eventually to replace the UMP as the main party of the right – though opinion polls credit the UMP with at least 209 seats, and the National Front with 8 at most, possibly none at all.[28]

Europe Ecology – The Greens aims to form an official parliamentary group, which requires having fifteen members in the Assembly. Electoral alliances with the Socialist Party are likely to significantly increase the number of Greens in Parliament. (There were only three prior to the election.)[28]

The Democratic Movement aims to preserve its three seats, although its earlier ambitions were much higher. Opinion polls suggest the party may disappear from the Assembly completely, and is unlikely to obtain any additional seats.[28]

In all, twelve parties or alliances are standing more than a hundred candidates. The Socialist Party has 459 candidates, and is endorsing candidates of allied parties in other constituencies. The UMP has 501 candidates, and is endorsing candidates of allied parties (most notably the New Centre) in 69 other constituencies. The Left Front has 531 candidates. Europe Ecologie-The Greens has 465. Marine Le Pen's "Marine blue gathering" has 571 candidates, and is thus present in all but six constituencies. Most of these candidates are members of the National Front; others are from small, allied extreme right parties. François Bayrou's "Centre for France" alliance has 340 candidates, most of whom are members of the Democratic Movement.[29]
Also standing over a hundred candidates are:[29]

UMP position on the National Front

With the prospect of National Front candidates reaching the second round alongside the mainstream candidates of the left and right in a number of constituencies, the Socialist Party announced that it would withdraw its candidate from the second round in those constituencies, if and only if it appeared that the National Front candidate had a realistic prospect of winning. In such cases, the Socialists would support the UMP candidate as part of a "republican front" against the far right. The UMP, by contrast, refrained from saying it would withdraw and support a Socialist candidate in those same circumstances.[30]

Instead, 64% of UMP voters said they would favour an alliance between their own party and the extreme right for the legislative election.[31] Leading figures of the UMP rejected the possibility. Chantal Jouanno said she was worried it might be under consideration, leading party leader Jean-François Copé to assure her publicly "there will never be an alliance with the National Front".[32] Two days before the first round, Alain Juppé called upon party members to resist the "temptation" of local alliances with the far right, arguing on "moral", "pragmatic" and "tactical grounds", highlighting ideological and policy incompatibility and the National Front's stated aim to "break" and replace the UMP.[33]

The day after the first round, the UMP officially announced its position. The party told its candidates not to withdraw if they had entered the second round in third place behind a Socialist candidate and a candidate of the National Front. In addition, in constituencies where the second round was a runoff between the left and the National Front, the UMP would not support either candidate.[34] Roland Chassain, UMP candidate in the Bouches-du-Rhônes' 16th constituency, immediately disobeyed the party line, announcing he was withdrawing from the second round and supporting the National Front candidate. He explained that he considered himself "closer to Marine Le Pen than to the Socialist Party".[22] In the Gard's 2nd constituency, third-placed UMP candidate Etienne Mourrut also publicly considered defying party instructions and withdrawing in favour of National Front candidate Gilbert Collard. Ultimately, he decided to comply with party instructions and remain in the race.[35]

Simultaneously, Nadine Morano (UMP), government minister from 2008 and 2012, asked National Front voters in her constituency to support her on the grounds of the "shared values" between the right and the far right,[36] while UMP mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi stated that the UMP has "no common values" with the Socialist Party.[37] On 12 June, Morano published an interview in the far right newspaper Minute, calling for "as large a gathering as possible of the right".[38][39] Another UMP candidate, Jean-Paul Garraud, stated that his party and the National Front had "common beliefs", a statement which was criticised by Alain Juppé as being "in total contradiction" with the stated position of the UMP.[40]

Martine Aubry, the leader of the Socialist Party, said that her party, by contrast, would support candidates of the right against the far right, as a "Republican principle". In Vaucluse's 3rd constituency, she therefore asked Socialist candidate Catherine Arkilovitch, who had entered the second round in third place (21.98%), to withdraw and support second-placed UMP candidate Jean-Michel Ferrand (30.03%), so as to help defeat National Front candidate Marion Marechal-Le Pen (34.63%).[41] Arkilovitch, however, defied her party and refused to withdraw.[42]

Pierre Moscovici, Socialist Minister of Finance, stated on 12 June that the UMP had lost its way and its values and no longer knew what it stood for, in response to its position on the National Front.[43] Later that same day, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault accused the UMP of "preparing a strategic alliance with the National Front", adding: "I think it was underway with Nicolas Sarkozy, but now the UMP really is at a turning point".[44]


The official campaign began, in metropolitan France, on 21 May. In every constituency, each candidate has a billboard outside every polling station, upon which to display a campaign poster. Campaign material is also distributed by candidates' supporters in the streets and in letterboxes, and many campaign posters are illegally displayed in the streets. Transmitting campaign material to voters by e-mail is, however, prohibited. Nationwide, parties represented in the National Assembly prior to the election (i.e., the Union for a Popular Movement, the Socialist, Radical, Citizen and Miscellaneous Left parliamentary group, the Democratic and Republican Left parliamentary group, and the New Centre) have the right to broadcast campaign clips on television; an hour and a half is provided for the outgoing parliamentary majority, and an hour and a half for the outgoing opposition. Each side distributes this time as it sees fit between its constituent parties. Parties which are not represented in Parliament but which are standing at least 75 candidates are entitled to seven minutes of broadcast each. Any campaigning whatsoever is forbidden on the eve of the election.[45][46]

The leaflets of the candidates for the French nationals abroad (Français établis à l'étranger) seats were published online on the website of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.[47][48]

Opinion polls

Poll source Date(s) administered Sample size
Ifop 6 May 2012 1,968 0.5% 1% 8% 31% 5% 4.5% 1.5% 32% 18%
Harris 6 May 2012 899 7% 26% 5% 5% 32% 17% 8%
CSA 6 May 2012 1,016 1% 0% 10% 31% 4% 6% 30% 1% 15% 2%
BVA 6 May 2012 874 0.5% 10.5% 35% 4% 33% 17%
CSA 9–10 May 2012 899 1% 0.5% 10% 32% 4% 4% 33% 0.5% 12% 3%
BVA 9–10 May 2012 1,147 0% 0.5% 10.5% 30% 4.5% 0% 5% 32.5% 1% 16%
Ifop 18–19 May 2012 860 0.5% 0.5% 7% 34.5% 4.5% 4% 32.5% 0.5% 16%
OpinionWay 23–25 May 2012 1,836 1% 8% 32% 4% 1% 4% 31% 16% 3%
Ipsos 25–26 May 2012 962 1.5% 8% 31% 6% 2% 35% 15% 1.5%
Ifop 25–29 May 2012 971 0.5% 1% 7% 33% 1% 3.5% 4% 1% 32% 0.5% 15.5% 1%
CSA 29–30 May 2012 852 1% 0% 10% 30% 5% 3% 31.5% 0.5% 14% 5%
BVA 30–31 May 2012 1,139 0.5% 0.5% 9% 33% 4% 4.5% 32% 0.5% 16%
Ifop 31 May – 1 June 2012 874 1.5% 8% 33% 4% 3% 30.5% 15.5% 4.5%
LH2 1–2 June 2012 960 0.5% 1% 8% 30% 1.5% 5% 5% 1% 30.5% 14.5% 3%
Ipsos 1–2 June 2012 894 1.5% 7% 32.5% 6% 3% 34% 14% 2%
TNS-sofres 1–3 June 2012 1,000 1.5% 7.5% 31.5% 5% 2% 35% 15% 2.5%
OpinionWay 4–5 June 2012 1,697 1% 8.5% 31% 5.5% 1% 2% 35% 15% 1%
Harris 5–6 June 2012 1,043 1% 7% 34% 5% 3% 33% 15% 2%
CSA 5–6 June 2012 875 1% 0.5% 8% 32.5% 5% 3% 32.5% 0.5% 14% 3%
Ipsos 6–7 June 2012 1,017 1.5% 8% 31.5% 5% 2% 34.5% 15.5% 2%



The election was won by the left, providing the new government with an absolute parliamentary majority. The parties of the presidential majority together have 55.97% of seats; with the Left Front providing them with supply and confidence, they have 57.70%. Among the 577 members of the Assembly, 234 were new. A record number of women were elected: 155 (which is, however, only 26.86%). Turnout was 57.23%, a record low.[49]

Wallis and Futuna's single constituency had the highest turnout of any French electorate during the first round on 10 June, with 78% voter participation.[50]

 Summary of the 10 and 17 June 2012 French National Assembly elections results
Parties and coalitions First round Second round Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Seats % Swing
Socialist Party PS 7,617,996 29.35% 22 9,420,426 40.91% 258 280 48.53% Increase94
Miscellaneous left DVG 881,339 3.40% 1 709,409 3.11% 21 22 3.81% Increase7
Europe Ecology – The Greens EELV 1,418,141 5.46% 1 828,916 3.60% 16 17 2.95% Increase13
Radical Party of the Left PRG 429,059 1.65% 1 538,324 2.34% 11 12 2.08% Increase5
Presidential majority (Left) 10,346,535 39.86% 25 11,497,075 49.93% 306 331 57.70% Increase119
Union for a Popular Movement UMP 7,037,471 27.12% 9 8,740,625 37.95% 185 194 33.62% Decrease119
Miscellaneous right DVD 910,392 3.51% 1 418,1351.82% 14 15 2.60% Increase6
New Centre NC 569,890 2.20% 1 568,288 2.47%11 12 2.08% Decrease10
Radical Party PRV 321,054 1.24% 0 311,211 1.35% 6 6 1.04% Decrease12
Centrist Alliance AC 156,026 0.60% 0 123,352 0.54% 2 2 0.35% Increase2
Total Parliamentary Right 8,994,833 34.67% 11 10,161,611 44.13% 218 229 39.69% Decrease116
Left Front FDG 1,792,923 6.91% 0 249,525 1.08% 10 10 1.73% Decrease8
National Front FN 3,528,373 13.60% 0 842,684 3.66% 2 2 0.35% Increase2
Regionalists and separatists REG 145,825 0.56% 0 135,534 0.59% 2 2 0.35% Increase2
Centre for France MoDem 458,046 1.76% 0 113,196 0.49% 2 2 0.35% Decrease1
Other far-right ExD 49,501 0.19% 0 29,738 0.13% 1 1 0.17% Increase1
Other far-left ExG 253,580 0.98% 0 0 0.00% Steady
Other ecologists ECO 249,205 0.96% 0 0 0.00% Steady
Others AUT 133,729 0.52% 0 0 0.00% Steady
Total 25,952,550 100% 36 23,029,183 100% 541 577 100%
Valid votes 25,952,550 98.40% 23,029,183 96.12%
Spoilt and null votes 420,749 1.60% 928,411 3.88%
Votes cast / turnout 26,373,299 57.23% 23,957,594 55.41%
Abstentions 19,709,961 42.77% 19,276,406 44.59%
Registered voters 46,083,260 43,234,000
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote (first round)

Overall results by party

The Socialist Party (along with a small number of affiliated miscellaneous left candidates) obtained 300 seats, an absolute majority. Favoured by electoral alliances with the Socialist Party, its close allies, the Radical Party of the Left and the Citizen and Republican Movement, obtained respectively 13 and 2 seats, for a total of 315. This meant that the Socialists could govern without having to rely on the support of other left-wing parties – the Greens, or the Left Front.[51][52]

Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV), part of the government and of the presidential majority, also benefited from an electoral alliance with the Socialists, increasing its number of seats from just 4 to 18. (They will immediately lose one, however, as EELV leader Cécile Duflot must relinquish her seat in order to stay in government, and her seat will go to her Socialist running mate.) This enables the Greens to form an official parliamentary group. They become the third biggest party in the Assembly.[51][52]

The Left Front, which decided to stand alone after electoral alliance negotiations with the Socialists broke down, lost half its seats (from 19 down to 10), despite a substantial increase in the number of votes its received. It no longer has enough seats (15) to be recognised as a parliamentary group on its own,[53] but formed a group (the Democratic and Republican Left) with five miscellaneous left representatives from French overseas departments and territories: Huguette Bello (representing her own "For Réunion" movement; she is a dissident who left the Communist Party of Réunion shortly before the election[54]), Alfred Marie-Jeanne and Jean Philippe Nilor (Martinican Independence Movement), Gabriel Serville (Guianese Socialist Party), and Bruno Nestor Azérot (independent left, from Martinique).[55]

The Union for a Popular Movement (and affiliated miscellaneous right candidates), now the main opposition party, lost 112 seats, and several of its prominent members were defeated. In particular, 20 of the 41 members of the "Popular Right" (hard right) faction of the party standing for re-election lost their seats – most notably, Eric Raoult and Maryse Joissains-Masini.[51] Immediately after the defeat, leading members of the party called for a rethink of its positioning and a reassertion of its values. Alain Juppé stated that the UMP should stand clear on its incompatibility with the National Front; François Baroin and Jean-Pierre Raffarin expressed the same view, adding that the UMP's strong "drift to the right" and increasing proximity with the ideas of the far right had been a mistake. Party leader Jean-François Copé, however, replied that he disagreed with these views.[56]

The Democratic Movement (MoDem) lost its leader, François Bayrou, beaten in his own constituency by his Socialist challenger. The party's membership in the Assembly fell from 3 to 2: Jean Lassalle (re-elected in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques) and Thierry Robert (who gained a seat from the UMP in La Réunion).[57] (In Mayotte, incumbent MoDem MP Abdoulatifou Aly was eliminated with a crushingly low score in the first round.[58]) Bayrou's defeat was seen as a potentially crippling blow not just for his own career, but for the party which he had founded, and for the centre in French politics more generally.[59] All the more so as the two centre-right parties, the New Centre and the Radical Party, both lost seats, despite an electoral alliance with the UMP. The New Centre's representation in the Assembly fell from 25 members to 14, meaning that it would no longer be recognised as a parliamentary group in itself. The Radical Party obtained just 9 seats.[57]

The far right obtained representatives in the Assembly for the first time since the 1997 election. Party leaders Marine Le Pen and Louis Aliot were defeated, as was party spokesman Florian Philippot, but Le Pen's 22-year-old niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen was elected in Carpentras, benefiting from a split opposition due to Socialist candidate Catherine Arkilovitch's refusal, in defiance of party instructions, to withdraw in support of the better-placed UMP candidate. Marine Le Pen's lawyer Gilbert Collard, who is not a member of the National Front but was endorsed by it, was also elected, giving the party two seats (for the first time in twenty-four years). In addition, a former member of the National Front and Movement for France, and now independent far right politician, Jacques Bompard, was elected in a constituency neighbouring Maréchal-Le Pen's, in the Vaucluse.[51]

In overseas departments and territories, several local parties gained or maintained representation. The Guianese Socialist Party won a seat, returning to the Assembly for the first time since 1993. Its MP, Gabriel Serville, was initially to sit with the Socialists, before opting to sit with the Left Front.[60] This was widely seen as a "goodwill gesture" by the Socialist Party, meant to enable the Left Front to pass the 15-member threshold required to form a parliamentary caucus of their own (instead of sitting as "non aligned" members, which would have resulted in a considerable loss of financial and logistical means). The Martinican Independence Movement obtained two seats (up one from the previous election).[61] Boinali Said, leader of the miscellaneous left "Movement against the high cost of living", won one of the two available seats in Mayotte.[62] In New Caledonia, both seats were won by the centre-right, anti-independence Caledonia Together party, which gained them from the UMP.[63] In French Polynesia, the conservative, pro-autonomy but anti-independence Tahoeraʻa Huiraatira won all three seats.[64]

The far left parties, as well as the Pirate Party and the small environmentalist parties, failed to reach the second round in any constituency.[65]

Gains and losses

Based on notional party affiliation on dissolution after redistricting, regardless of party affiliation on previous election.

Party Unseated Gained Net Result
PC (Communist Party) 6 1 -5
FASE (Communist dissidents) 1 0 -1
PG (Party of the Left) 2 0 -2
Left-wing Regionalists 0 2 +2
Left Front and allies 9 3 -6
PS (Socialist Party) 3 99 +96
MRC (Citizens' Republican Movement) 0 2 +2
PRG (Radical Party of the Left) 2 7 +5
Miscellaneous Left 3 9 +6
EELV (Greens) 1 14 +13
Left-Wing Presidential Majority 9 131 +122
Modem (Democratic Movement) 2 1 -1
Center For France 2 1 -1
NC (New Centre) 8 0 -8
AC (Centrist Alliance) New party 2 +2
PRV (Radical Party) 10 2 -8
UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) 105 1 -104
Miscelleanous Right 5 6 +1
MPF (Movement For France) 1 0 -1
Parliamentary Right (UMP and allies) 129 11 -118
FN (National Front) 0 2 +2
Other Extreme-right 0 1 +1
Extreme-Right 0 3 +3

Based on notional distribution of seats before dissolution and after the 2010 redistricting, 149 seats switched party (26% of the National Assembly, more than in any of the three previous elections). 8 seats switched from the left to the right, 9 from the extreme-left to the left, 119 from the right to the left, 3 from the right to the extreme-right, 3 from the right to the extreme-left, 2 from Modem to the left, 1 from the right to Modem. Four seats switched party within the left (two from PS to PRG, one from PRG to PS, one from PS to EELV) as a result of coalition agreements.

Notable individual results

Government ministers

It is not compulsory in France for a government minister to obtain an electoral mandate, but ministers usually do seek the legitimacy it implies. As no person may simultaneously be a member of the executive and the legislature, any government minister elected to Parliament must immediately resign from their newly obtained seat in the Assembly, in order to remain a minister.[66] Their running mate then takes their seat, and holds it until and unless they cease to be a minister, whereupon they revert to being a member of the Assembly. Prior to the 2012 election, new Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault ruled that any minister who stood in the election and was beaten would have to resign from government. Two ministers, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Christiane Taubira, opted to withdraw their candidacies in their respective constituencies. Twenty-five ministers (including Ayrault) did decide to stand, while the remaining eight had never expressed an intention to do so.[67]

All government ministers standing as candidates were elected or re-elected, and were thus able to remain in government. Specifically, they fared as follows:[68]

MinisterPartyConstituencyResultRunning mate
(actual MP if elected)
Jean-Marc Ayrault PS Loire-Atlantique's 3rd Re-elected in the first round (56.21%) Jean-Pierre Fougerat
Laurent Fabius PS Seine-Maritime's 4th Re-elected in the first round (52.81%) Guillaume Bachelay
Delphine Batho PS Deux-Sèvres' 2nd Re-elected in the first round (53.18%) Jean-Luc Drapeau
Bernard Cazeneuve PS Manche's 4th Elected in the first round (55.39%) Geneviève Gosselin Manche's 5th before redistricting (PS hold)
Victorin Lurel PS Guadeloupe's 4th Re-elected in the first round (67.23%) Hélène Vainqueur-Christophe
Frédéric Cuvillier PS Pas-de-Calais's 5th Re-elected in the first round (50.66%) Thérèse Guilbert
Benoit Hamon PS Yvelines' 11th Elected in the second round (55.38%) Jean-Philippe Mallé Seat gained from the UMP
Aurélie Filippetti PS Moselle's 1st Elected in the second round (59.04%) Gérard Terrier Incumbent for Moselle's 8th, seat abolished in redistricting. Seat gained from the UMP
(swing: 11.44%)
Stéphane Le Foll PS Sarthes' 4th Elected in the second round (59.45%). Sylvie Tolmont Seat gained from the UMP.
(It had been won by
UMP Prime Minister
François Fillon in 2007.)
George Pau-Langevin PS Paris' 15th Elected in the second round.
Awaiting specific results
Fanélie Carrey- Comte Paris' 21st before redistricting (PS hold)
Marie-Arlette Carlotti PS Bouches-du-Rhône' 5th Elected in the second round.
Awaiting specific results
Avi Assouly Seat gained from the UMP
Cécile Duflot EELV Paris' 6th Elected in the second round.
Awaiting specific results
Danièle Hoffman-Rispal[69] Redistricted from former Paris' 6th and Paris' 7th. Technically Greens gain from PS (although Duflot will keep her cabinet post and incumbent Hoffman-Ripsal will sit in the National Assembly)
Pierre Moscovici PS Doubs' 4th Re-elected in the second round.
Awaiting specific results
Frédéric Barbier
François Lamy PS Essonne's 6th Re-elected in the second round (57.77%) Jérôme Guedj
Sylvia Pinel PRG Tarn-et-Garonne's 2nd Re-elected in the second round (59.86%) Jacques Moignard[70]
Marisol Touraine PS Indre-et-Loire's 3rd Re-elected in the second round (60.21%) Jean-Marie Beffara
Jérôme Cahuzac PS Lot-et-Garonne's 3rd Re-elected in the second round.
Awaiting specific results
Jean-Claude Gouget[71]
Manuel Valls PS Essonne's 1st Re-elected in the second round (65.58%) Carlos Da Silva
Genevieve Fioraso PS Isère's 1st Re-elected in the second round (58.34%) Olivier Véran
Alain Vidalies PS Landes' 1st Re-elected in the second round (59.12%) Florence Delaunay
Marylise Lebranchu PS Finistère's 4th Re-elected in the second round.
Awaiting specific results
Gwenegan Bui
Michèle Delaunay PS Gironde's 2nd Re-elected in the second round (58.44%) Vincent Feltesse
Valérie Fourneyron PS Seine-Maritime's 1st Re-elected in the second round (57.96%) Pierre Léautey
Kader Arif PS Haute-Garonne's 10th Elected in the second round (57.78%) Émilienne Poumirol


Other notable national political figures fared as follows:[68][72]

Elected or re-elected:

Noël Mamère EELV Gironde's 3rd Re-elected in the first round (51.98%) Former presidential candidate
Élisabeth Guigou PS Seine-Saint-Denis' 6th Elected in the second round in a walkover Former minister; originator of the 2000 law on the presumption of innocence (loi Guigou) Sole candidate in the second round following Patrick Le Hyaric's withdrawal
Marie-George Buffet FG Seine-Saint-Denis' 4th Elected in the second round in a walkover Former minister; former General Secretary of the Communist Party; former presidential candidate. Sole candidate in the second round following Najia Amzal's withdrawal
Malek Boutih PS Essonne's 10th Elected in the second round (56.84%) Former president of SOS Racisme
Henri Guaino UMP Yvelines' 3rd Elected in the second round (61.85%) Former special adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy
Jean-François Copé UMP Seine-et-Marne's 6th Re-elected in the second round (59.53%) General Secretary of the UMP
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet UMP Essonne's 4th Re-elected in the second round (51.48%) Former minister
François Fillon UMP Paris' 2nd Re-elected in the second round
Awaiting specific results
Former Prime Minister
Valérie Pécresse UMP Yvelines' 2nd Re-elected in the second round (58.67%) Former minister
François Baroin UMP Aube's 3rd Re-elected in the second round
Awaiting specific results
Former minister
Bruno Le Maire UMP Eure's 1st Re-elected in the second round (57.97%) Former minister
Luc Chatel UMP Haute-Marne's 1st Re-elected in the second round (55.06%) Former minister
Laurent Wauquiez UMP Haute-Loire's 1st Re-elected in the second round (63.95%) Former minister
Xavier Bertrand UMP Aisne's 2nd Re-elected in the second round (50.25%) Former minister Retained his seat by a margin of 222 votes (0.5%).
Swing: -3.03%
David Douillet UMP Yvelines' 12th Elected in the second round (54.59%) Former minister; former Olympic judo champion
Thierry Mariani UMP Expatriates' 11th Elected in the second round
Awaiting specific results
Former minister
Éric Woerth UMP Oise's 4th Re-elected in the second round (59.23%) Former minister
Bernard Accoyer UMP Haute-Savoie's 1st Re-elected in the second round (56.06%) Former President of the National Assembly
Hervé Morin NC Eure's 3rd Re-elected in the second round (53.17%) President of the New Centre; former minister
Jean Lassalle MoDem Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 4th Re-elected in the second round (50.98%) Leading member of the Democratic Movement
Jean-Louis Borloo PR Nord's 21st Re-elected in the second round (55.83%) President of the Radical Party; former minister
Gilbert Collard FN Gard' 2nd Elected in the second round (42.82%) Celebrity lawyer
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan DLR Essonne's 8th Re-elected in the second round (61.39%) 2012 presidential candidate


Ségolène Royal PS Charente-Maritime's 1st Beaten in the second round (37.03%) 2007 presidential election runner-up
Jack Lang PS Vosges' 2nd Beaten in the second round
Awaiting specific results
Veteran politician; former minister; creator of the internationally celebrated Fête de la Musique; originator of the Lang Law
Claude Guéant UMP Hauts-de-Seine's 9th Beaten in the second round (38.41%) Former minister
Nadine Morano UMP Meurthe-et-Moselle's 5th Beaten in the second round (44.33%) Former minister Defeated incumbent.
Frédéric Lefebvre UMP Expatriates' 1st Beaten in the second round
Awaiting specific results
Former minister
Michèle Alliot-Marie UMP Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 6th Beaten in the second round (48.38%) Former minister Defeated incumbent.
François Bayrou MoDem Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 2nd Beaten in three-way runoff against PS and UMP (second with 30.17%) President of the Democratic Movement; former minister Defeated incumbent (swing −31.04%)
Marine Le Pen FN Pas-de-Calais' 11th Beaten in the second round (49.89%) 2012 presidential candidate; president of the National Front
Louis Aliot FN Pyrénées-Orientales' 1st Beaten in the second round (23.24%) Vice-president of the National Front
Jean-Luc Mélenchon FG Pas-de-Calais' 11th Beaten; third in the first round (21.46%) 2012 presidential candidate; co-president of the Left Party; former minister
Rama Yade PR Hauts-de-Seine's 2nd Beaten; third in the first round (13.84%) Former minister
Nathalie Arthaud LO Seine-Saint-Denis' 6th Beaten; sixth in the first round (2.47%) 2012 presidential candidate
Philippe Poutou NPA Gironde's 5th Beaten; eighth in the first round (2.12%) 2012 presidential candidate
Maxime Rouquet PP Yvelines' 10th Beaten; seventh in the first round (1.82%) Co-president of the Pirate Party
Jean-Marc Governatori AEI Alpes-Maritimes's 1st Beaten; eighth in the first round (0.71%) General secretary of the Independent Ecological Alliance

Notable races

These constituencies attracted particular media interest, due to the presence of a notable candidate facing for example unexpected difficulties, or on the contrary an unexpectedly easy race, or due to the prospect of a significant and meaningful change in fortune for a party. Libération published a list of "twenty-five constituencies to watch out for", with commentaries.[73] France 24 identified eleven "constituencies to watch out for".[74]

Pas-de-Calais 11th

For the first time, two major[75] candidates from the presidential election are standing in the same constituency for the legislative election. Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Left Front) and Marine Le Pen (National Front) are both standing in the Pas-de-Calais' 11th constituency, centred on the town of Hénin-Beaumont. The incumbent MP, Odette Duriez of the Socialist Party, is not standing for re-election; the Socialist candidate is Philippe Kemel.[76] The Le Pen-Mélenchon duel attracted international media attention, including for what it revealed of attitudes and expectations in an area of northern France hit hard by deindustrialisation and unemployment. The Guardian noted that, in that regard, "Mélenchon blames what he sees as pernicious free-market capitalism and bankers; Le Pen points the finger at immigrants and Europe".[77][78][79][80][81][82][83]

On the first round, Le Pen won a plurality of the vote. The left-wing vote was split, with the Socialist candidate Philippe Kemel receiving more votes than Mélenchon. All three candidates qualified for the run-off, but Mélenchon withdrew and supported Kemel for the second round. Kemel narrowly won the seat (retaining it for the Socialist Party) with 50.1% of the vote, defeating Marine Le Pen.[84]

Pas-de-Calais' 11th constituency – 2nd round[85]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PS Philippe Kemel 26,812 50.11 -11.55
FN Marine Le Pen 26,694 49.89 n/a
Turnout 55,712 59.18 +1.94
PS hold Swing -11.55

Pyrénées-Atlantiques 2nd

Attention was also drawn to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 2nd constituency, where presidential candidate François Bayrou of the centrist Democratic Movement was hoping to retain his seat. Bayrou has held the seat continuously since 1988, but the press raised the possibility that he might this time be beaten. Until 2002, the mainstream right had not stood a candidate against him, and in 2007 the candidate of the Union for a Popular Movement had withdrawn in his favour in the second round. Following Bayrou's personal endorsement of François Hollande for the second round of the 2012 presidential election, however, the UMP maintained a candidate against him. He also had to contend with a Socialist opponent, despite there having been talk in the Socialist Party of not standing a candidate in his constituency, as a gesture of acknowledgment for his endorsement of Hollande.[86]

Bayrou was defeated, with the seat going to Socialist candidate Nathalie Chabanne.[87]

Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 2nd constituency – 2nd round[88]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PS Nathalie Chabanne 20,090 42.78 +3.99
MoDem François Bayrou 14,169 30.17 -31.04
UMP Éric Saubatte 12,700 27.04 n/a
Turnout 48,151 61.99 -0.75
PS gain from MoDem Swing

Charente-Maritime 1st

In Charente-Maritime's 1st constituency, no candidate of the right, centre or far right reached the second round. The second round was between Ségolène Royal, the Socialist Party's candidate to the 2007 presidential election (who obtained 32.03% in the first round) and a dissident Socialist, Olivier Falorni (28.91%).[89]

Falorni won the seat, defeating Royal by a comfortable margin.[90]

Charente-Maritime's 1st constituency – 2nd round[91]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Miscellaneous left Olivier Falorni 38,539 62.97 n/a
PS Ségolène Royal 22,667 37.03 -18.02
Turnout 63,247 64.05 -0.08
Miscellaneous left gain from PS Swing

Paris 4th

In well-off Paris' 4th constituency, the opposite situation arose: the two candidates qualified for the second round were both from the right: Bernard Debré for the UMP (45.07% in the first round), and Brigitte Kuster, a UMP dissident (23.01%). Immediately after the first round, however, Kuster withdrew. There was a second round nonetheless, but with only one candidate, who needed simply to receive one vote in order to be elected.[92] This configuration also happened in several constituencies on the left (see subsection "The two-round electoral system", below).

Paris' 4th constituency – 2nd round
Party Candidate Votes % ±
UMP Bernard Debré 20,526 100 n/a
Turnout 25,696 38.13 n/a
UMP hold Swing n/a

Hauts-de-Seine 9th

The Hauts-de-Seine's 9th constituency, traditionally a very safe seat for the right, raised unexpected difficulties for UMP candidate and former Minister of the Interior Claude Guéant. A dissident member of the UMP, Thierry Solere, contested his legitimacy, stood against him, and reached the second round, precipitating a three-way runoff between two candidates of the right and one of the left.[93][94]

Solere narrowly won the seat, obtaining votes from the left given Gueant's impopularity on that side. The total share of the vote for left-wing candidates was 28%, in the first round, plus 4% for the Modem candidate.[95]

Hauts-de-Seine 9th – 2nd round
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Miscellaneous right Thierry Solere 13,912 39.35 n/a
UMP Claude Guéant 13,578 38.41 n/a
PS Martine Even 7,864 22.24 n/a
Turnout 35,918 58.86 n/a
Miscellaneous right gain from UMP Swing n/a

Meurthe-et-Moselle 5th

This constituency drew attention due to the behaviour and situation of UMP candidate Nadine Morano, who had been Minister for Professional Training in François Fillon's government from 2010 to 2012. She finished second in the first round (34.33%) behind Socialist candidate Dominique Potier (39.29%) and, in the hopes of obtaining more votes in the second, appealed explicitly to the voters of the eliminated National Front, on the grounds of "common values" in what she called a "duel between the right and the left". She defined her common values with far right voters as including "control over immigration, refusing to give foreigners the right to vote" and "the protection of our borders". After she had published an appeal in a far right newspaper, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and the leader of the Greens and Minister for Housing Cécile Duflot both described her behaviour as symptomatic of a worrying shift of part of the right towards the extreme right; Ayrault accused her of renouncing her party's values to try and save her seat.[96][97] Her situation made headlines again when humorist Gérald Dahan phoned her, pretending to be National Front vice-president Louis Aliot, and recorded her expressing her sympathy and closeness to the National Front. François Fillon publicly rebuked her for not having immediately hung up, saying "we don't talk to the leaders of the National Front. We must reject all forms of extremism". Morano hit back, telling him she was a "free politician".[98][99]

Morano, the incumbent, lost her seat to Socialist candidate Dominique Potier by a 10% margin.[100]

Meurthe-et-Moselle's 5th constituency – 2nd round
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PS Dominique Potier 25,122 55.67 +8.49
UMP Nadine Morano 20,006 44.33 -8.49
Turnout 47,046 61.34 -0.01
PS gain from UMP Swing +8.49

Bouches-du-Rhône 5th

Marie-Arlette Carlotti, junior Minister for the Disabled, stood in this constituency against the UMP incumbent Renaud Muselier, who had held the seat since 1993. On paper, media reported that, of all the twenty-six ministers standing in the legislative elections, she seemed the least likely to win her constituency. Had she lost, she would have had to resign from the government. She was elected with 51.8%, a result which was also described as having a significant impact on local politics in Marseilles. As minister, she will not be able to sit in Parliament; as long as she stays on the government, her seat goes to her running mate, Avi Assouly, locally famous as a former radio football presenter.[101][102]

Bouches-du-Rhône 5th constituency – 2nd round[103]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PS Marie-Arlette Carlotti 20,212 51.81
UMP Renaud Muselier 18,799 48.19
PS gain from UMP Swing

Essonne 8th

In addition to Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and François Bayrou, three candidates from the presidential election were standing in this legislative election. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Arise the Republic) finished first in the first round in Essonne's 8th constituency, with 42.82% of the vote, heading into a runoff with Socialist candidate Aude Bristot (30.2%), and eliminating UMP candidate Laurent Béteille (9.52%).[104] In the Gironde's 5th constituency, Philippe Poutou (New Anticapitalist Party) finished eighth and was thus eliminated in the first round, receiving just 2.12% of the vote.[105] In Seine-Saint-Denis' 6th constituency, Nathalie Arthaud (Workers' Struggle) finished sixth with 2.47%, far behind the Socialist incumbent and former Minister for Social Affairs Élisabeth Guigou (46.12%) and the director of l'Humanité, Patrick Le Hyaric, standing for the Left Front (17.33%).[106]

Essonne's 8th constituency – 2nd round[107]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DLR Nicolas Dupont-Aignan 25,989 61.39
PS Aude Bristot 16,342 38.61
Turnout 43,077 57.18
DLR hold Swing +4.01

Notes and references

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  6. 1 2 "Un « troisième tour » déterminant", Ouest France, 30 May 2012
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  10. 1 2 "Législatives. Le «troisième tour» en vue", Le Télégramme, 8 May 2012
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External links

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