A shrinking majority for macronismo, a thriving but very conjunctural left-wing coalition and a blurred Le Pen who resigns herself in an electoral battle that harms her formation. This will be in broad strokes the panorama that will come out of the polls in the legislative elections that France is preparing to hold in a double round today, Sunday, and the one that comes after a campaign marked by disinterest and a tedious profile like few others in the country’s history. With the polls in hand, and in such a predictable scenario, the emotion is given by a number: 289 seats, the absolute majority that it needs Macron to articulate their political agenda.
The latest polls project a range of between 270 and 300 deputies for the official hypercenter. And in that margin is the great key to these elections. If the macronista majority were below 289, it would have to reach agreements with other deputies, without anyone in France understanding that the stability of the government is in danger. That majority, it seems clear, It will be somewhat smaller than the macronista roller in the National Assembly of the past five years.
This is explained by two causes: the erosion of Macron, the lack of novelty effect that drags him down and the rise of the leftist coalition, the great novelty of these elections that many analysts translate into a contest between the president’s centrist list and the leftist led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has managed to unite environmentalists, communists, rebels and socialists under the acronym NUPES, New Popular Social and Ecologist Union. The big change for Macron with respect to the presidential elections is his change of direct rival. It is no longer Le Pen, blurred in this campaign and that today does not have a parliamentary group in the National Assembly.
the opponent is Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the veteran leader of the anti-capitalist and eurosceptic left, who looms as the biggest threat from the opposition. Mélenchon was third in the presidential elections, with 7.7 million votes, the best result in his history. He was only 400,000 votes short of going to the second round and established himself as the hegemonic man of the left. “Elect me Prime Minister,” Mélenchon has been repeating for weeks. The slogan is effective. It allows you to appear as the only alternative even if that possibility seems remote.
Cohabitation, with president and prime minister of different signs, has not occurred in France for 20 years and the system has progressively favored institutional stability that now benefits the majority of the hypercenter. Macron, who governed without opposition during the first five years , it might have to settle for being the first force with a relative majority. This scenario would hinder the legislative process and force it to seek pacts with other forces.
These legislative elections are, by way of explanation, 577 small double-round elections in 577 districts. In each of them, the two with the most votes in the first round and those with more than 12.5% of those registered go to the second round. Each district elects a deputy. The advantage of the macronistas under the label of Ensemble in coalition with other small moderate parties is to place themselves in the center of the board in the face of options that a majority perceives as radical. In the second round, their candidates should rally voters who want to stop Mélenchon’s or Le Pen’s candidates.
That is why in France moderate options prevail in the second round to constitute the Assembly for this five-year period. Furthermore, historically, after a presidential election, it is usual for the French to renew confidence in the newly elected head of state by granting him a parliamentary majority so that he can implement his program. Although that majority is now going to be eroded because Macron no longer has the novelty effect.
These legislative ones will consolidate the scheme of the tripolar France. Macron’s hypercenter, Mélenchon’s left and the nationalist extreme right of Marine LePen. The new tripartite France will take shape, with nuances, in the National Assembly, with two large center and left blocs and a much smaller one for Le Pen, surpassed by the conservatives. An Ifop projection gives the Macronists between 275 and 310 deputies out of 577; to the great coalition of the left between 170 and 205; to the historical right of Los Republicanos, which survives, between 35 and 55; and Le Pen, between 20 and 50.
The legislative ones have something of a plebiscite on the new Government formed after the presidential elections last April.
An added complication is that 15 of the 27 ministers, in addition to the prime minister, Elizabeth BorneThey are candidates for the legislative elections. The president has made it clear that those who lose will have to leave a new Executive that has started with two serious crises: the fiasco in the organization of the final of the Champions League between Real Madrid and Liverpool and thorny chaos involving the Minister for Solidarities and Disabilities, the former right-wing leader Damian Abad. Two women have accused him of rape. For the moment, he remains in office despite social pressure.
The first objective of this new government, which could be remodeled after these elections, will be to combat the high inflation rates weighed down by the war in Ukraine. Another obstacle for Macron in this appointment is the unpopularity of his star reform for the coming months: the pension reform and the increase in the retirement age from the current 62 years to 64 or 65. The social mobilizations could set fire again the street while Mélenchon promises to lower it at 60, who is campaigning for a reason and already acts as leader of the opposition.