And the Winner is: Ni Droite, Ni Gauche, mais Extrême Droite

19 June 2022

Although the definitive results are not yet in, one thing is already clear: President Macron has suffered a major defeat, while Jean-Luc Mélenchon has fallen considerably short of the goal he set for himself. The big winner of the evening is Marine Le Pen, who is projected to emerge with 89 deputies, far more than predicted, and more than either Les Républicains (78) or Mélenchon’s France Insoumise (86 out of 149 for la NUPES as a whole).

Ensemble!’s share is significantly smaller than expected, which limits Macron’s options. Even with support from EELV and the Socialists, he would not have enough votes to form a majority. His best option would be to try to forge a coalition government with LR, as Jean-François Copé has in fact already proposed, but it’s by no means certain than such a coalition can be formed or that it would be stable if it were. He will at the very least be forced to name a new government: although Prime Minister Borne did win her contest, several other ministers were defeated and will have to resign (Richard Ferrand, the president of the AN and a Macroniste de la première heure, also lost). Will Borne be kept on, or will Macron seek a more political prime minister capable of the sinuous maneuvering that will undoubtedly be necessary in the years ahead?

France enters uncharted territory. Any new government will be different from the governments of cohabitation that the country has known in the past. The only party with any coherence or consistency is the one with which Macron cannot enter into coalition: the Rassemblement National. The minister of justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, has nevertheless already floated the possibility of a “case-by-case” agreement with the RN on matters of mutual interest, such as hiring more policemen and magistrates.

As for Le Pen, it’s already clear that she has greatly extended her geographical implantation, with deputies elected outside of her traditional strongholds in the northeast and southeast. While media attention was focused on the rise of the reunited left, Le Pen quietly improved her standing with voters on the right, clearly benefiting from a rejection of both Macron and Mélenchon.

It’s hard to imagine anything emerging from today’s election other than turbulence and incoherence.

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3 Comments

  • bernard says:

    You need to be careful with the numbers you are quoting and which of course are sourced from polling institute estimates. These numbers are inconsistent with the fact that the National Assembly has 577 MPs. In particular it is highly likely that the score of the Nupes is substantially underestimated from two sources, results of large towns where they are strong are not in at all, and results from overseas territories are not counted with the Nupes although these MPs will enter Nupes political groups (some 20 of them I suspect, to be checked). Nevertheless Nupes will of course remain second to Ensemble and there is no majority possible.

    • Le Monde has NUPES at 136 at this point. By the time this is over, 170 is definitely probable. Macron has def shown that his presidential victory was, once again, due to the indigestibility of the opponent he ran against than positively for Macon. His Sarcozyist policies are simply not popular.

  • Anonymous says:

    No one has yet squared the fact that Macron defeated Le Pen decisively in the recent presidential race, but lost to her in the legislative elections. While simultaneously, enthusiasm for “Melenchon, Premier Ministre”, was lukewarm. And the abstention rate came close to the historic record.
    The French since De Gaulle brought the Fifth Republic into being seem to have a love-hate relationship with the head of the French state. It is as if he’s viewed as a necessary evil, welcomed initially, then torn down bit by bit as the French remember that any reforms he achieves will ultimately gore their particular ox. Only Mitterand seems to have escaped the contempt of a majority of his compatriots for most of his 21 years in office. That might be due to his unrivaled chameleon qualities as a politician, which no other French president has incarnated.
    “Do the French take the consequences of political choices at all seriously?”, I wonder. Macron (like many another French president before him) has gone from being an annoying torchbearer for a
    more technologically advanced, forward-looking France to being just tiresome —all in a matter of weeks.
    Melenchon, too, finally became irritating, his
    compatriots perhaps finally tiring of his “fanfaronnade” of replacing the Fifth Republic with
    something reflecting his views. Out in the cold, Melenchon is now simply leader of his party and a coalition that will not necessarily hold together.
    Le Pen, Putin’s cat’s paw, kept a low profile and reaped a historic victory, because in many “circonscriptions” the local weakness of LREM + Modem + Horizons meant voters in the second round, faced with a choice between NUPES and RN chose RN—because Melenchon was scarier than a softer, now emollient Marine Le Pen.
    This means that what will actually be in play over the next 5 years will be the values for which the French Republic stands: “laïcité, “insertion”, and France as an ideal of liberty and progress; or, “communautarisme”, “égalité”, the return of the ISF and retreat from support of Ukraine in return for lower gas prices and more buying power.
    There must be long faces across most of the French political spectrum tonight: Sarkozyistes (Ferrand and Castaner and Copé); François Bayrou —and particularly Edouard Philippe; Melenchon, the Greens, La France Insoumise. Only Marine Le Pen, her Cheshire Cat smile intact, is laughing tonight.

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