Back to the results of the 2022 legislative elections:"severe failure" by Emmanuel Macron

A great silence hovered over the Parisian headquarters of Ensemble! when the results are announced at 8 p.m. And for good reason: the enthusiasm caused by the reform program – “revolutionary” advanced some – of Emmanuel Macron in 2017 seems indeed to have fallen. From 345 deputies in the outgoing Assembly (including 266 seats for En Marche), the presidential movement would fall to 218 seats according to the first projections. Whatever the evolution of the results, it is certainly a “severe failure” for Emmanuel Macron, according to political scientist Brice Teinturier of the Ispos polling institute. The president, the first head of state to be re-elected for a second term since Jacques Chirac, will have to compose to govern.

“He relied on the automatism of a parliamentary majority allocated to the re-elected president in force in recent decades, explains political scientist Nathalie Saint-Cricq. It was only after the first round of the legislative elections that the alarm bells rang, one after the other. But he was already too late.” To add to the humiliation, the faithful Christophe Castaner, former Minister of the Interior and president of the group La République en Marche in the Assembly, was not re-elected. The same for Brigitte Bourguignon, any new Minister of Health and Prevention or even the Secretary of State in charge of the sea, Justine Benin, who are eliminated in their respective constituencies. According to the informal rule “defeated minister, fallen minister”, they will have to give up their positions. Even the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, had to fight to win her constituency of Calvados, yet deemed very Macronian.

A slap for the President in a context where abstention once again imposes itself as a majority fact, at 54%. Suffice to say that his projects for the overhaul of political life, admittedly thwarted by the pandemic from 2020, did not succeed. The number of abstention being nevertheless lower than that of 2017 (57.4%), it breaks the fatality of a constant decline in participation. It is therefore less commented on on television sets.

Marine Le Pen imposes herself without warning

If the absence has slightly decreased, it is probably due to the surprises created by other political formations. First, the National Rally of Marine Le Pen. After a discreet campaign marked by the repeated blunders of some of its budding candidates, the party achieved a historic score, with around 89 seats in the hemicycle. Or the assurance of a parliamentary group in the Assembly, a first for 34 years. But also the concretization of a territorial anchoring on the whole of the North-East and the South of France, to which it is necessary to add the Vendée. Marine Le Pen thus breaks the glass ceiling which made her a giant in the presidential election and a dwarf in the legislative elections. The three-times unsuccessful candidate for supreme office is consolidating her grip on her political family. Especially since Éric Zemmour, eliminated in the first round, will no longer be there to hinder her.

In comparison, Jean-Luc Mélenchon arouses less “Hello”. Its very hybrid New Popular, Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) certainly comes second, with a projection of 156 seats. But he will not be able to win his bet to be elected Prime Minister, or even to force Emmanuel Macron to cohabit. However, he led a dynamic campaign which allowed several atypical personalities to emerge. Among them, Stéphane Ravacley, the “Besançon baker”, the governess Rachel Kéké or even Tematai Le Gayic of French Polynesia, elected the youngest deputy in the history of the Assembly at 21 years old. The Nupes are now playing “its unity and its credibility in public opinion”according to the formula of Brice Teinturier.

(Little) kingmakers

On the Les Républicains side, we swallow a new snake when we arrive behind the RN. But with 78 seats, we save the furniture after the catastrophic score of Valérie Pécresse in the presidential election to propose ourselves as a coalition partner “natural” by Emmanuel Macron. The head of state will indeed have to pick among the republican right, the right centrists, even the ecologists or the socialists to form a government.

These legislative elections, and the soft campaign that preceded them, therefore formalize a new recomposition of the French political landscape, now divided between a weakened center and two reinforced extremes. The right-left divide is therefore well beyond, as Emmanuel Macron announced in 2017. The new political configuration does not, however, resemble what he had envisaged.

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