Earthquake in assembly elections: education must be taken

The second round of legislative elections on June 19 marked the end of a long electoral cycle, with two presidential rounds and two legislative rounds following each other. In the presidential election, Emanuel Macron was largely re-elected, especially if we remember that a outgoing president inevitably dissatisfied the electorate.

But last weekend’s legislative elections will mark a huge drop in the presidential majority of voters. The main issue for the second round, of course, was whether the president’s majority deputies would also have an absolute majority, or, as suggested by the vote, only a relative majority.

The disbelief of the majority

The results are too bad for the majority. Gathered 245 seats together, far from an absolute majority of 289. The New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPES) has 133 deputies, far below the voting forecast range. On the other hand, the national assembly has 89 elected members as compared to 8 in 2017 and 35 members in 1988 in the departmental proportional voting system. Republicans have 60, less than half of their parliamentary group from 2017 to 2022. There are 20 different left, 10 regional, 10 different right, 4 different centers, 4 UDI, 1 sovereign right.

Let’s add that the two main blocks are compounds. With a relative presidential majority, LREM will have only 162 deputies, about half less than in 2017, MoDem 45 (about 2017), Horizon, Edward Philip’s new party, 27.

On behalf of NUPES, La France Insumis (LFI) has 79 elected officials (as against 17 today), EELV 25, PS 25 and PCF 12 (who will have difficulty forming parliamentary parties). It is very possible that this alliance will break or break, especially because of the major differences in the programs of Europe and NATO.

For the first time since 2002, when the president’s mandate was reduced to five years and the electoral calendar was reversed, there was no extension of the president’s victory in the legislative elections. In contrast, there seems to have been a strong movement of disobedience to the majority. The front against the “extreme” that the President called the camp did not work. Fear of a “chaos” gathered so the radicals left and right did not come first.

What is the future of the alliance?

So the situation for the next five years is very open, forcing the power to find an alternative majority on a case-by-case basis, unless it succeeds in persuading elected representatives from right or left. These results show that the restructuring of the French partisan system is not over. Republicans may be divided or crushed, some may move to Macronia, others may join national rallies.

This situation of the very strong weakness of the majority can already be seen in the results of the first assembly round. The presidential coalition received about 25.7% of the vote at the same level as NUPES. If we compare with 2017, LREM then collected 32.3% of the votes cast in the first round, which is about 7 points more than on June 12, 2022. Three major party blocs emerged from the election: together, NUPES and extremist rights fell by about 24% (RN, Reconquest, sovereign rights), while traditional rights fell by 13.6% (LR, UDI, various rights).

The record level of abstention (52.5% of registered voters) prevented many candidates from standing because registered voters are required to obtain at least 12.5% ​​(i.e. more than 25% in most constituencies). The second round therefore opposed everywhere (with 6 exceptions) the duality of the candidates: 415 Ensemble Eligible, 380 NUPES, 209 RN and 71 LR.

An incredible strategy

The strong fall of the assembly in legislative elections compared to presidential elections is probably associated with the adoption of an incredible strategy. In 2017, the newly elected president quickly chose a prime minister. His government took popular action before the first round, especially in terms of the ethics of political life.

In 2022, on the other hand, the head of state was slow to announce his government without promising specific action despite an obvious climate, economic and health crisis. Thus, on the key issue of purchasing power, the Prime Minister was satisfied with the late announcement of a 4% increase in pensions over the summer.

Thus the President’s agenda for the next five years remains unclear, especially in terms of economic policy, as if the President wants to take some time off from the policy he is pursuing, or he thinks his presence on the international scene is sufficient. To attract voters. Evidence of ambiguity surrounding his latest proposal with the National Council for Refounding

In this context, the electoral coalition led by Jean-Luc Melenchon managed to almost triple the number of leftist deputies in the National Assembly.

However, as a percentage of the votes cast, it is only about 30% (with different leftists) stable in percentage compared to 2017, while the far right is about 10 points ahead.

The importance of refraining

Finally, the second round confirms the importance of abstaining from the first: 53.8%, slightly higher than the first legislative round but slightly lower than the second round of 2017 (57%). The gap between generations and social categories is greater than ever before: when two of the three registered voters are over 65 years of age, this is only in the case of one person under 35 years of age. Many workers and employees have become extreme fatalists without going to the polls.

This is a very important question that government authorities should ask at the beginning of the legislature so that the reforms are likely to be implemented in 2027. We know that abstinence can be reduced – without a miracle solution – with the introduction of at least a partial proportional voting system, including the possibility of voting by post or on the Internet, to prevent many “mis-registrations” with electoral reform.

There are also many who suggest a practical policy to strengthen citizenship among young people, to develop incentives for voting during election campaigns, and even to organize large-scale conflicting debates between parties and to advance the profession of trust to voters. It is important to reflect the kind of reforms that will be implemented for the future of representative democracy in France.


By Pierre BrechanEmeritus Professor of Political Science, Poe Grenoble of Science, Historical Writer.

The original version of this article was published in the conversation.