Three days before the first round of the French legislative elections, all the alarm signals have sounded in the Macronist campaign. A poll published on Wednesday showed a technical tie between the president’s party Emmanuel Macron, “Ensamble” (Together), and the leftist coalition forged by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPE).
If these forecasts are confirmed at the polls, Macron would lose his current absolute majority in the National Assembly (289 of the 577 seats), which would prevent him from applying his reforms during his second and last term in the Elysee.
A survey carried out by Ifop-Fiducial for the LCI TV network gives the president’s party a range of between 250 and 290 seats, slightly lower than the projections for the month of May. Meanwhile, the leftist coalition maintains an upward trend and could be done with between 195 and 230 seats.
Just two months after re-electing Macron in the French elections, the French do not seem very motivated to go to the polls again this Sunday and again on June 19 in the second round. The opinion institutes foresee a historical abstention of between 52% and 56%, which would exceed the already record of 2017, when only 51.3% of the electorate turned out to elect their deputies. In the words of the deputy director of Ipsos, Brice Tinturierthese elections are being viewed from a national perspective “and the French pay very little attention to the local dimension of their candidates and their proposals”.
Faced with these results and forecasts less flattering than expected, the head of Macron’s party, Stanislas Guerini, called on Monday to run an “even stronger” campaign between now and the first round. The offensive of the legislative alliance that supports the president will continue this week with several trips by the French president to “illustrate the priorities of the five-year period”, including “youth” and “daily security”, according to what his environment assured the chain France Presse.
“Certainly there is a small dynamic of NUPES”, acknowledges a government adviser in the newspaper “Le Parisien”, “but in reality its candidates only add the scores of all the leftist formations, so it is an optical effect, linked to their initial union. For a faithful macronista, the results of the left in the first round are not synonymous with victory in the second: “NUPES has no reservation of votes.”
As recognized by the Marconist deputy aurore bergeto France 2 television, if voters do not give Macron a majority after his re-election on April 24, it would represent a “major destabilization of politics in our country for years to come.”
No “cohabitation” for 20 years
France has not had “cohabitation”, that is, a president and a parliamentary majority from different parties since 1997-2002, when the conservative president Jacques Chirac had to govern with the socialist Lionel Jospin as prime minister. Precisely, a constitutional change in 2000 promoted by Chirac sought to end this type of political stalemate by moving the parliamentary elections immediately after the presidential ones.
A survey published on Friday by the BVA group revealed that only 35% of the French wanted Macron to have the majority in the new National Assembly, reflecting the sharply fractured nature of the electorate.
Macron defeated the far-right leader, Marine LePen, in the second round of the presidential elections on April 24, winning a second five-year term. Although he will have a free hand in foreign policy, regardless of the outcome of the parliamentary elections, his national agenda of tax cuts, welfare reform, and raising the retirement age It depends on the outcome of the legislature.
Mélenchon, a former Trotskyist who heads the leftist France Unsubmissive party, has a radically different program that calls for lowering the retirement age to 60, taxes on wealth and raising the minimum wage by 15%.
At a rally in Paris a week ago, Mélenchon sounded optimistic about a French left that was unable to come together to find an Elysee candidate in April. “We have come together to tell the country ‘we are an alternative if you have understood that things cannot continue as they are,'” he shouted before 1,500 supporters.
The populist leader hopes the left’s promise of more social spending and environmental protection, as well as anger over rising prices caused by the war in Ukraine, will drive supporters to turn on. “If people think we can win, they will go out and vote in their cargoes, their bunches, their carriages,” the 70-year-old political veteran said.
In the Socialist Party, where the alliance with Mélenchon has caused a real schism, its general secretary, Olivier Faure, acknowledged a few days ago to France Presse that “There is real hope.”