Legislative elections: the French begin to vote for a historic second round with a very uncertain outcome

Legislative elections: the French begin to vote for a historic second round with a very uncertain outcome
Legislative elections: the French begin to vote for a historic second round with a very uncertain outcome

The French began voting on Sunday for the second round of the legislative elections, a historic vote in which the National Rally could emerge victorious, although there is great uncertainty over its ability to obtain an absolute majority in the Assembly and to be able to form a government.

Voters can go to the polls until 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. in major cities, when the first results will be in.

The mobilization is still expected to be strong with participation expected at the same level as in the first round where it reached 66.7%, something never seen since the previous dissolution in 1997.

Last Sunday, the French placed the National Rally – and its allies from LR – largely in the lead (33%), ahead of the left-wing alliance New Popular Front (NFP, 28%), and the presidential camp Ensemble (20%).

On a national scale, rarely have legislative elections unleashed so many passions, aroused so much anxiety in some or the hope of those who, by voting for Marine Le Pen’s party, want to give her political family the possibility of governing.

A far-right government in France would be a first since World War II.

Many withdrawals

But the campaign between the two rounds was marked by the withdrawal of many candidates from the Macronist camp and the NFP, in the name of a “republican front” reinvigorated by the prospect of the nomination of RN president Jordan Bardella, 28, to Matignon.

In total, 130 NFP candidates and 80 Ensemble candidates withdrew, reducing the number of three-way contests from 306 to 89.

As a result of these withdrawals, the prospect of an absolute majority for the RN seems to be fading.

A few hours before the end of the electoral campaign on Friday at midnight and the start of a reserve period, several polls seemed to show a tightening between the three blocs (RN/NFP/Ensemble).

It is still necessary to note the fragility of these forecasts with, as the deputy president of Ipsos Brice Teinturier pointed out on Friday, “fifty constituencies which are being decided by a hair’s breadth.”

Marine Le Pen considers the RN’s chances of “having an absolute majority in the Assembly” to be “serious”, considering that seat projections “are not an exact science”.

“To the wall”

If this were not the case, a period of uncertainty and intense negotiations would open after the difficult elections for the parties and the country.

Will the National Rally, in a relative majority situation, manage to rally the votes it lacks to form an absolute majority?

Conversely, will the other parties succeed in forming an alternative majority, as several leading members of the majority have called for?

In this hypothesis, “everyone will be somewhere with their backs to the wall to move forward in the service of our fellow citizens” beyond the “divisions”, affirmed Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, ruling out the possibility of governing with the RN or LFI, who do not want it anyway.

The right does not seem very inclined to enter into a construction of this type for the moment. “It is out of the question to make any coalition whatsoever with anyone,” the former president of the LR group in the Assembly, Olivier Marleix, told AFP on Wednesday.

The environmentalists and socialists still seem undecided. Marine Tondelier (EELV) believes that “it will surely be necessary to do things that no one has ever done before in this country” in the absence of a clear majority.

But, for the head of the PS Olivier Faure, the next government “will not be able to impose itself”, which will force it to seek majorities “text by text”.

Regaining its status as the best opponent of the “system” thanks to the Republican Front, the RN has denounced in advance “schemes” intended to deprive it of power.

There remains the hypothesis of a technical government, like the one that saved Italy from the debt crisis in 2011.

Gabriel Attal has in any case declared himself available to ensure the continuity of the State “as long as necessary”, that is to say to deal with current affairs while waiting for the formation of a new government. The question arises all the more since Paris will host the Olympic Games from July 26 to August 11.

“I think we are going into a situation […] which remains unstable, unprecedented, historic and extraordinarily difficult,” feared Mr. Teinturier.

The end of the campaign, in a climate of great tension, was marked by attacks and violence against candidates and activists.

Faced with possible disturbances on Sunday evening, 30,000 police officers will be mobilized, including 5,000 in Paris.

High participation rate

The turnout in the second round of the legislative elections in France was up on Sunday at noon (10:00 GMT), to 26.63%, compared to 25.9% at the same time in the first round, the Interior Ministry announced.

This figure is the highest for legislative elections since those of 1981 (28.3%), marked by the arrival of the left in power.

Midday turnout even exceeded 30% in 23 departments, starting with Bouches-du-Rhône (South-East, 34.59%) where the far-right National Rally party came out on top in the 13 constituencies still to be allocated.

In the South-West, Corrèze (33.88%), where the former socialist president François Hollande is in the running in a three-way race, participation reached 33.88% and 33.48% in Cantal, where two duels pit the right and the far right against each other.

At the bottom of the ranking, the eight departments of the Paris region show the lowest participation rates, between 22.03% for the capital Paris and 12.77% for the neighboring department of Seine-Saint-Denis. Most voters in this region, however, have until 8:00 p.m. to go to their polling stations.

-

-

PREV “My African Hour” dedicates its 7th edition to piracy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with Abshir Aden Ferro
NEXT Magician or charlatan? When the business of a “rainmaker” causes one of the largest floods in California history