How did Brittany vote on Sunday in the first round of the Presidential election for the French hexagon? Bretons gave a much clearer victory to the centrist Macron than France in general. Macron polled about five percentage points higher in Brittany. Meanwhile, Le Pen’s Front National still struggles to gain traction in Brittany, along with western France more generally. Le Pen’s 15% was a full six points lower than she managed across the hexagon.
The traditional Gaullist candidate Fillon and the leftist Melenchon polled at levels similar to their general support. Melenchon just pipped Fillon to second place, despite his Jacobinism and what have been seen as anti-Breton statements. (He described Breton as an intellectual language created by the Nazis during the Second World War). Interestingly, Hamon of the Socialist Party scored rather better in Brittany than elsewhere.
The UDB and the Mouvement Bretagne et Progrès, which have come together to fight the forthcoming legislative elections, declined to advise their supporters how to vote in the first round. Christian Troadec’s attempt to stand as a regionalist candidate had fallen victim to tighter French rules on candidatures which make it very difficult for a regionally based candidate to be nominated. The UDB is now advising its supporters to vote Macron in the second round and the MBP will no doubt follow suit.
Overall, votes for leftist candidates in Brittany combined totalled about 31%, with 29% for Macron and 24% for the traditional right (plus 15% for the FN). All of which suggests the legislative elections, the first ballot of which will be a few days after the UK’s general election, may well be unpredictable.