Coalition Strategies and the National Front Vote in French Legislative Contests
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Since the French political system exhibits imperfect ‘bipolar multipartism’, à la Duverger, we do see coalition formation in legislative elections. The traditional coalitions of the left or right, in their pursuit of vote-getting, aim to reduce the National Front share on the first-round of balloting. Do they succeed? Examining district-level data (1993, 1997, and 2002) in a time-series cross-section analysis, we find that alliances of traditional left parties decrease the National Front vote share, by about 2 percentage points. Further, alliances of the traditional right increase National Front vote share, by 1½ percentage points, and even more when that coalition is UDF-led. This surprising finding, which holds up under rigorous testing, appears due to the particular motivations of FN identifiers in the face of these coalition strategies. The aggregate effects on the coalition-driven National Front vote shifts are nontrivial, seriously affecting the second-round National Fronts chances perhaps one-third of the time.
Keywordscoalition behavior National Front vote legislative elections
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