“This French electoral spring seems to have been designed to put Macron to the test, and confront him with the powerful currents of an increasingly polarized country, which no longer accepts traditional patterns”, observed El Mundo. “If the presidential election in April had highlighted the weight taken by the extremes, these legislative elections show that the five years of this new mandate will not be easy” for the French president, adds the Spanish daily.
According to the latest results, Together! won 25.75% of the vote, against 25.66% for Nupes – a difference of 21,442 votes. Projections by polling institutes give the presidential majority between 255 and 295 seats, against 150 to 210 for Nupes. Abstention reached a new record, standing at 52.49%.
The last week of campaigning before the second round will be “frantic”, promise The Guardian, “while Macron’s centrists still hope to be able to widen the gap” with the troops of Mélenchon.
No state of grace for Macron
But the game will not be easy for the macronists, because “Mélenchon’s coalition relies on parties deeply rooted in France, including socialist heavyweights who hold local office”, explain it wall street journal. “Mr. Macron’s party, on the contrary, has never had a local foothold in the country, generally failing to win in municipal and regional elections”.
“The presidential coalition could recover in the second round but its absolute majority – a minimum of 289 deputies – hangs by a thread”, adds El Periodico. “Despite Macron’s victory in April, the candidates affiliated with the centrist leader were not carried by this triumph and obtained a result clearly inferior to that of the 2017 legislative elections”.
the New York Times share this analysis and notice that there was no“state of grace for Emmanuel Macron”whose victory was less due “to a wave of enthusiasm for him than to voters who above all want to block the way” to Marine Le Pen. In addition, “electricity and food prices have gone up” for the past two months, “and the president seemed surprisingly detached from the French and their concerns”notes the New York daily.
A detachment also observed during the campaign, according Politico : “While Mélenchon was in the headlines before the election, the French president hardly campaigned, […] hoping perhaps that the enthusiasm aroused by Mélenchon would deflate”.
Rebirth of the left
Nothing happened and Sunday’s results mark “the spectacular return of the French left, after five years in political limbo”, Write the FinancialTimes. Led by Mélenchon, “the left will at the very least be able to constitute a strong opposition to Macron’s legislative program, which seeks to continue its economic reforms”.
“The coalition of anti-capitalist and eurosceptic Mélenchon has achieved something unthinkable two months ago, and it is already a great triumph for the leader of rebellious France”insists El Mundo. Despite his defeat in the presidential election, “he managed to unite a fragmented and depressed left” and did it “to be reborn”.
But for political scientist Dominique Reynié, a specialist in populism, the real winner of these elections is unfortunately abstention. “Today, the main anti-system choice is not to vote for the parties of Mélenchon or Marine Le Pen, but to abstain”he analyzes in the columns of Corriere della Sera. “It is a mass political choice, which we began to observe in the municipal elections of 2014 and which is now becoming widespread at the national level. It is now a fundamental problem for democracy”.