France closes the campaign with the doubt of whether Macron will achieve an absolute majority
France has already known this model of “cohabitation”. In 1997, Chirac appointed Socialist Lionel Jospin as prime minister.
The conservative president had previously been the prime minister between 1986 and 1988 of his Socialist predecessor, François Mitterrand.
Next Sunday’s balottage will depend on the direction taken by the second economy of the European Union (EU) and one of the world’s nuclear powers, in a context of war in Ukraine and rising energy and food prices.
The next electoral appointment in France will be the elections to the European Parliament in 2024, two years in which the parties will be able to settle the ongoing recomposition in three blocks – radical left, center and extreme right – before a new test before the voters.
The French president spent the last hours showing himself as an international leader with his trip to Kiev and in a television interview defended the possibility that a comfortable majority in Parliament will allow him to push through the reforms he has promised, such as the retirement age.
The biggest challenge he faces is the broad alliance of the left, around Jean-Luc Melenchon, who if he wins could ask to be appointed prime minister and push his own agenda.
The centrist alliance of President Emmanuel Macron deployed its last efforts on Friday to try to maintain its absolute majority against a united left after the runoff of Sunday’s legislative elections, which close several months of campaigning in France.
“We are on the ground to fight until the last minute!” said Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, who compared her project that seeks to “protect” the French to the “dangerous” program for the economy of the left-wing coalition.
Macron, re-elected in April for a new five-year term, is at stake in these elections to be able to apply his liberal program, such as the delay of the retirement age from 62 to 65 years, without the need to weave alliances with other parties, especially the right.
“The chaos is them,” reiterated yesterday the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called on voters to go and vote and “make a clear decision,” because “otherwise it will be a mess for months.” More than half of the voters abstained in the first round.
The projections of the polling institutes indicate the possibility that the centrist president loses his absolute majority, due to the advance in number of seats of the left, allied in the New Popular, Ecological and Social Union (Nupes), and of the extreme right.
Macron would get between 255 and 305 deputies, followed by the Nupes (140 to 200), the right-wing party The Republicans and their allies UDI (50 to 80) and the National Rally (RN, ultra-right) of Marine Le Pen (20 to 50). The majority stands at 289.
Macron faces the possibility that the polls will enshrine different scenarios for his government, an absolute majority to a simple one.
Maintaining the absolute majority is the privileged scenario for the 44-year-old president who, after a first term marked by social protests, the pandemic and, in the final stretch, the war in Ukraine, hopes to resume his reformist and more liberal agenda.
This result would allow him to pass laws with almost no resistance in Parliament, but he risks reinforcing his image as an authoritarian leader.
“What is at stake is to prevent Macron from having an absolute majority,” said Jordan Bardella of RN.
A simple majority would return a certain prominence to Parliament, since it would force the head of state to look for allies to carry out his measures.
There are also ways to impose measures, but they involve putting at risk the continuity of the government.
The Republicans party, heir to the formations of former presidents Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) and Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012), is seen as arbiters, since their votes will become “inescapable”, said MEP Agnès Even.
Although this type of negotiation is common in most democracies, in the absence of a stable majority, the adoption of laws would become a headache for the ruling party in France, accustomed to removing the steamroller.
The most feared scenario for Macron is a major victory for the Nupes – a coalition of environmentalists, communists, socialists and the radical left – which would allow Mélenchon to claim to be appointed prime minister, postpone liberal measures and prioritize his own.