Sunday, June 11, 2017

French Elections, and some random balkan history

The counting in the first round of the french elections are wrapping up. Only a handful of seats have an official winner, someone who has taken 50%+1 of the vote, in the remainder, two candidates will go head to head next week. Despite that, there are projections, done by the media, that show how well things are going. From them I've developed my own projection which is as follows:

420 Liberals
100 Conservatives
25 Socialists
15 Communists
5 Nationalists
12 Others

This would give Macron a massive majority in the House.

There are two main parties making up the Liberals, REM, Macron's own party, and MoDem, the centrist Liberal party lead by Bayrou which has existed for some years. The 420 seats is their combined total.

In 2002, the combined Conservative seat total was 399

In 1993, the Conservatives managed a whopping 485 seats, however, this was at a time of a Socialist Presidency, and so, could not be counted as part of the "President's Majority" in the same way the 2002 Conservatives, or 2017 Liberals can.

In 1981 the Socialists took 333 seats in a smaller chamber, but they would have had to have taken 358 to beat the share of seats Macron is expecting.

1962 saw 324 seats for the President's Conservatives

However, all of this pales to the events of 1968.

In may of that year, France was hit by general strikes and occupations of universities and factories, causing de Gaulle, who had the balls to stand up to Hitler, to flee the country for a few hours. Within 24 hours of returning, he called an election and dissolved Parliament. This caused the strikes to die down

This election saw the return of 91 Socialist and Communist members, and a whopping and massive 396 Conservatives to the 487 seat assembly; a number equal to 470 seats in the modern 577 seat assembly.

Things are a bit more complex in the Senate.

Elections will be held in September for half of the Senate. The other half is composed of
91 Conservatives
33 Moderates
48 Socialists
2 Communists
4 Others

Keep in mind that Macron has shown an ability to attract sitting members of other parties to his side. It is possible that half of the Socialists, a dozen of the Conservatives, and nearly every Moderate will choose to sit with his party. Macron has also won nearly every seat from the Socialists, and up to half from the Conservatives. If that trend continued, his Senate results could be expected to be as follows:

184 Liberals
108 Conservatives
30 Socialists
20 Communists
6 Others

However, there is a major caveat.

The senate is not chosen by popular vote, it is chosen by an electoral college, one made up of municipal councillors. As such, projections should be taken with a grain of salt. The current Senate makeup is as follows:

143 Conservatives
122 Socialists
56 Moderates
18 Communists
9 Others

Lastly, a bit of world history, in particular, nearing the end of WW2.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of d-day and the invasion of Normandy, when the US, and UK (including Canada) invaded NAZI occupied France, and liberated it from the Germans.

Most also know that the US and UK invaded Italy, and that Italy switched sides, and these armies drove up the peninsula, and liberated Italy.

Many know that the US and UK, after invading Normandy, attacked Germany. In the process, the US liberated most of Wallonia in Belgium and Luxembourg. Canada and the UK Liberated most of Flanders in Belgium, and Canada liberated the majority of the Netherlands.

It is also known by those who read history, that Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary were liberated from the NAZIs by the Soviets.

Lesser known is that Norway mostly Liberated itself, though with some significant UK aid.

Denmark also liberated itself. Both due to the NAZIs simply withdrawing in order to fight in, Germany. This being similar to how Denmark was occupied, the Germans simply rolled in.

That's great and all, but it does not cover every country in Europe that the NAZIs had occupied.

Yugoslavia is probably the most famous country that Liberated itself. Communist partisans fought the puppet government in Croatia, and liberated Yugoslavia. The fact that Yugoslavia liberated itself is one key reason why Yugoslavia was able to be independent from the Soviets during the Cold War.

What I learned only yesterday was the following.

Romania resisted the Soviet invasion to a point, but like Italy, switched sides. In fact, it was King Michael who lead the coup against the NAZI government, and then fought alongside the Soviets, with Romania, against NAZI Germany.
Fun fact: Michael is still alive as of the writing of this post, though he is 95 and has leukemia.

Bulgaria was invaded by the USSR next, and there was no resistance. The Soviets marched into Sofia, and helped a coup, which flipped Bulgaria to the allies.

Albania was liberated nearly completely by itself. Communist militias took over after the Germans withdrew to fight in Germany.

Greece was also mostly Liberated by itself, though the British were quick to move in to prevent a power vacuum. Communist militias held most of the country and this would eventually lead to the Greek Civil War.

So, only yesterday I learned that a lot of european countries had liberated themselves. I pride myself on knowing history and only learning this yesterday I find disturbing. The reality is a lot of this information was a bit hidden and harder to find. The "official story" of the war likes to focus on how the US and UK were the ones who freed most of europe, but in reality, many countries freed themselves as the Germans withdrew to fight in Germany.

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