► For the majority, a risky first round
In 2017, the momentum of the presidential election had increased in the legislative elections: after Emmanuel Macron’s 24% in the first round of April, La République en Marche had gathered 32% of the votes in June, before obtaining a majority. overwhelming in the hemicycle.
Five years later, the re-elected president thought he could repeat this scenario, which the first polls promised him. Except that the momentum is no longer really there, and that the deal has become complicated over the course of a campaign that the presidential camp first wanted to dodge.
From now on, the projections certainly give him a majority, but which could be narrow, even relative. In the first case, the presidential party will have to spare the sensitivities of its allies of the MoDem of François Bayrou and Horizons of Édouard Philippe. In the second, he will be obliged to form alliances of convenience on each bill with compatible members of the opposition. What hinder the smooth running of the quinquennium.
The pressure has increased further with the early first round of elections for French nationals living abroad on June 4 and 5. In most of these eleven constituencies, where the electorate is very favorable to the president, the candidates of the majority certainly came first, but less high than in 2017, while the left did much better.
In the home stretch, Emmanuel Macron has therefore resolved to campaign, multiplying the movements and attacks against Jean-Luc Mélenchon before a first round which concentrates the risks. In the second, in fact, the candidates of the center will be able to count on the voices of the left against the RN, and on those of the right against the Nupes. But we still have to go to the second round. Triangulars will be rare in a context of high abstention (beyond second place, you need the vote of 12.5% of registered voters to qualify), and the risk of elimination in the first round is therefore not excluded. .
Additional challenge for the executive: 15 candidate ministers are playing their future in government. In any case, a reorganization is to be expected after the legislative elections, the extent of which will depend on these results. One more step before being able to really launch the five-year term.
► For Nupes, become the first opposition group
Jean-Luc Mélenchon has already partly won his bet: the left is coming back. Arriving third (21.95%) in the presidential election, he pulled off a masterstroke by obtaining, around La France insoumise, an electoral and programmatic agreement with Europe Écologie-Les Verts, the Socialist Party and the French Communist Party. . In less than five weeks of campaigning, this New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) has risen to the height of the presidential majority, collecting 27.5% of the voting intentions against 28%, according to Ipsos (1).
With a slogan “Melenchon Prime Minister” and the promise of “third round” of the presidential election, the leader of the Insoumis has managed to personalize and nationalize the issues of the legislative elections. A strategy to keep its voters mobilized on April 10, whether they are convinced from the start or rallied by “useful vote”. The method seems to work: 83% of “Mélenchon” voters in the presidential election are preparing to vote in favor of the Nupes candidates.
However, will the alliance be full of votes from the left? Reluctance remains: 44% and 41% of the respective voters of Anne Hidalgo (PS) and Fabien Roussel (PCF) in the presidential election do not intend to vote for Nupes. As for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, will he achieve the goal of being appointed to Matignon? Emmanuel Macron’s supporters are working to denounce his criticisms of the police and to exhaust the economic and European program of Nupes.
In reality, the objective is to become the first opposition group in the National Assembly. What do the poll projections draw, with 160 to 200 seats, or even 175 to 215, out of 577. What will be the dividends of the agreement for each of the partners, starting with the magnitude of the LFI wave? Will EELV be able to create a parliamentary group, and the PCF able to keep its own? Will the PS increase the number of its deputies (currently 28)? Will leftist anti-Nupes dissidents have the ability to create an autonomous group?
“The agreement preferred to protect the outgoing deputies and give the majority of the left to Jean-Luc Mélenchon”, answers the former boss of the PS Jean-Christophe Cambadélis. In fact, the main issue for the left is subsequent to the legislative elections: will the union last?
► For the right, remain the first parliamentary opposition force
Coué method or true analysis? Be that as it may, the national leadership of the Republicans displays its optimism. “We will create the surprise next Sunday and then we will be decisive players for the next five years”, predicts Christian Jacob, the president of the party, at the end of the last strategic council.
The objective of the union of the right (LR, UDI of Jean-Christophe Lagarde, Les Centristes of Hervé Morin) is twofold. On the one hand, the re-election of its outgoing members, many of whom are threatened, either by the center or by the far right depending on the territory (on the other hand, LR would applaud the defeat of its former members who rallied Emmanuel Macron, starting with the ex-president of his group in the National Assembly, Damien Abad).
On the other hand, to remain the first parliamentary opposition force, which will be difficult if an electoral confrontation sets in between the presidential majority (Ensemble) and the left (Nupes). To do this, the right is betting on candidates who “have real roots in the field, many exercising a local mandate» : “It’s a national election where local presence is decisive», summarizes Christian Jacob, since it takes place in 577 constituencies.
Basically, the campaign argument is well established, according to the president of the Republicans: “neither the immobility of Emmanuel Macron, nor the blocking of Jean-Luc Mélenchon or Marine Le Pen”. Concretely, the right wants to be a “strength of proposal: improve and vote on texts that go in the right direction, firmly oppose those that go in the wrong direction”.
On the other hand, certainly not “additional strength” or one « running board » for Emmanuel Macron and Elisabeth Borne, insists Christian Jacob. Here is the executive warned: if the macronists obtain only a relative majority of the seats in the National Assembly, LR will dearly negotiate support text by text, not to mention a government coalition.
One thing is certain: the party will elect a new president in the fall, Christian Jacob having announced that he would retire, just as he has decided to stand in the legislative elections only as a substitute.
► For the far right, “overcome the curse”
Far from “dreams” majority of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his coalition, Marine Le Pen has already endorsed the role of opponent of the National Rally (RN) in the future Assembly. The MP for Pas-de-Calais has already set herself the goal of “overcome the curse of an election (majority) unjust” which, apart from the proportional parenthesis of 1986, has never offered the far right the 15 elected representatives needed to form a parliamentary group.
A threshold more accessible than ever for the former FN, leading in 30 departments in the second round of the presidential election. For Marine Le Pen, a group (of which she would take the lead) would allow her to act for good the definitive installation of Jordan Bardella as president of the RN, this fall. “Without a group, I don’t see how she could leave the party and be content to be an MP, period”, analyzes a relative. For his party, obtaining at least 15 seats will serve as proof of the“territorial anchorage” and at the “professionalization” after which the training created by Jean-Marie Le Pen has been running for decades.
“A group would be a key element in preparing for the next presidentialanticipates Renaud Labaye, director of cabinet of Marine Le Pen. There is certainly the tribunician function, as (Jean-Luc) Mélenchon used it well for five years. But above all there is the background. A group allows MEPs to have many more collaborators to work, specialize and develop their skills. »
“We are in a logic of party of government, we will not make agitation in the hemicycle, completes MEP Philippe Olivier. We want the national alternative to become natural, by bringing out a new elite. »
Candidate in the Var and competitor of the national camp, Éric Zemmour has much more modest ambitions. The former journalist Figaro is one of the very few representatives of his Reconquest! to be able to pass the first round. “It’s not one or two deputies in the shop that will change anything”, creaked Nicolas Bay, vice-president of the movement, after the presidential election and the refusal of the RN to consider the slightest alliance.