In France it’s back to the polls. The general election is about the President securing a strong majority in the National Assembly. Will that work this time?
Some people rub their eyes when looking at France.
While Emmanuel Macron felt the competition from the strengthened right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen when he was re-elected president a few weeks ago, the danger for the liberal in the first round of the parliamentary elections this Sunday comes from the left. The left veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon managed the coup to unite the fragmented left camp behind him and to attack Macron. As a shrewd speaker and strategist, he distinguished himself in an election campaign that Macron stayed out of until shortly before the end. Now he must fear for his absolute parliamentary majority.
Mélenchon is still undefeated
In third place, Mélenchon was eliminated in the first round of the presidential election despite a strong 22 percent, but did not admit defeat. “Elect me Prime Minister,” the 70-year-old announced promptly, and without further ado declared the parliamentary elections to be the third round of voting in order to decide on the balance of power in France. The parliamentary election is actually seen as a confirmation of the presidential election and is deliberately placed shortly after.
The polls see the new left-wing alliance on the upswing. If it got a majority, Macron would effectively be forced to appoint a prime minister and a government from this camp. And even with a relative majority for his camp, Macron would have to make compromises. He waited a long time before appointing the new government so as not to be vulnerable to attack and, although he is not otherwise at a loss for eloquent speeches and visions, kept a low profile about his concrete plans. The government camp was then put on the defensive by allegations of rape against a new minister, followed by chaos at the Stade France in the Champions League final, after which the interior minister made a mistake. Not a good start for Macron.
Germany and Europe can continue to count on France
What is certain is that Germany and Europe can continue to count on France as a reliable partner. Macron will probably not allow any compromises on his pro-European course and the solidarity with Berlin. In the Ukraine conflict, France will also remain an integral part of the West’s united front against the aggressor Russia.
Meanwhile, there are signs of a low in turnout, only 45 to 49 percent of the people want to cast their vote, said the director of the polling institute Ipsos, Brice Teinturier, on Saturday of the newspaper “Le Parisien”. “For the French, the presidential election is the decisive vote,” said Teinturier. They see little benefit in reshuffling the cards in the parliamentary elections. However, Macron cannot rely on this because trust in the government is low. When it comes to securing purchasing power – the core issue of Mélenchon – the population sees it as too slow, said the Ipsos boss.
And why has it become so quiet around Marine Le Pen, who won more than 40 percent of the vote for the highest office in the state? The reason for this is not a sudden change in mood in France – the right continues to have a lot of support – but the special nature of the parliamentary elections. In contrast to the presidential election, what counts here is local roots, and that’s not Le Pen’s strength. The 577 seats in parliament are allocated according to a complicated system of first-past-the-post system. In the end, only the votes for the winner in the respective voting district count. And only a moderate increase in seats is predicted for Le Pen.