The French are shunning the first round of the legislative elections and that is a bad sign

This Sunday, the Melenchonist left hoped to provoke an electroshock that could change that. But voters largely shunned the first round of French legislative elections, which took place across the Hexagon on June 12, a week after that of the French abroad. As a result, the analysis is mixed.

The first estimates of the number of votes at the national level, which fell in the evening, elbowed the historic New People’s Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Ensemble !, the presidential party coalition. At the time of publication of this article, we had no other notable information than this ranking of the national vote – which has little implication for the coloring of the Assembly in the end. And even at that level, things weren’t clear. The first projections of the IFOP national power report gave Nupes the lead with 26.1% of the vote in front of the alliance of Emmanuel Macron, which would bring together only 25.6%. Another polling station, OpinionWay, gave the opposite with 26.1% to the presidential majority and 25.4% to the new alliance of the left. Ipsos, on the other hand, gave… 25.2% to the two alliances. The National Rally (13%) and the Republicans are far behind.

Also read: The first round of French legislatures abroad delivers its lessons

The left relied heavily on coming out on top of this ranking to initiate a dynamic of mobilization for the second round. So success is not far off at that level. Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his executives insisted from 8 pm on what they call a victory. But to transform the test, it was necessary to mobilize in the first round. And that was not the case. Far from it. This Sunday at the polls actually resulted in a record abstention rate of about 53%, well above the 51.3% of 2017. This sign of disinterest, or even mistrust, of the French means that, whatever the end result, the majority will find it difficult to assert its legitimacy.

Bad news for the democratic health of the French system of course, but also bad news for the Nupes, who thought they could generate a wave of mobilization on the left with its historic alliance. Without such a shock, it will be difficult for her to move the lines in the face of the presidential majority.

Constituency by constituency

Another consequence of this turnout, the number of triangulars (second round with three candidates) will be zero or almost zero, as it is necessary to gather at least 12.5% ​​of registered voters (and not voters) to move to the second round. Another bad news for the Nupes, the duels being more favorable to the centrist camp, which can gather a lot of voice reserves in the second round. This is the fault of the union on the left: it leaves few tanks.

What else can create a mobilization effect? The qualification of a large number of left-wing candidates constituency by constituency, which would show that the coalition is taking over – a real event, the left coming out of a very difficult situation in recent years.

Another possible boost is the endangerment of a few candidate ministers and other big names in the majority. Fourteen ministers are running in addition to the head of government. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is running in Calvados and should do well according to initial estimates. Close to Geneva, the outgoing Ain MP, Damien Abad, Minister of Solidarity, is also expected to take the lead in his constituency. At the heart of the controversy over allegations of rape, the only big catch on the right of macronia is coming out better than expected.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, the central figure in the previous government, was eliminated in the first round in the Loiret.

And now?

In the end, what can Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Emmanuel Macron hope for – who followed the election night at the Elysée with Elisabeth Borne, who joined him shortly before 7pm? With 577 members to be elected, the absolute majority is 289 seats. This is always what they are trying to achieve together! and the Nupes. But the slogan “Mélenchon Prime Minister” has very little chance of becoming a reality. The projections in the number of seats, very risky in view of the number of local elections at stake, still give 255 to 310 deputies for Ensemble! and 150 to 220 for the Nupes, which would make it by far the leading opposition force. But still quite far from the majority.

The National Assembly, on the other hand, should be able to set up its parliamentary group fairly widely (at least 15 members) and Eric Zemmour’s party, which itself was eliminated in the first round, would have no more than one MP. the National Assembly.

The risk of ending up without an absolute majority therefore remains for Emmanuel Macron. If this were to be the case on Sunday night’s second round, “the number of seats missing to get a majority will be the most fundamental figure in this election,” political scientist Bruno Cautrès told us. This scenario would effectively open up a broader sequence of alliances to be built, which would further add to the blur of the emerging French political landscape.

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