French legislative elections of 2022: 4 questions to better understand the issues

The French will return to the polls on Sunday for the first round of legislative elections.

French legislative elections of 2022: 4 questions to better understand the issues

The French will return to the polls on Sunday for the first round of legislative elections. With a second round scheduled for the following Sunday, June 19, these elections will make it possible to constitute the parliament of the next French term.

• Read also: In the campaign, Macron asks for a majority in the legislative elections

• To read also: Sunday evening, the first round

• Read also: Legislative in France: Macron targets the leader of the radical left

The main major political blocs are:

All aim to constitute the next majority in the future French Parliament.

Legislative elections are used to elect the deputies who will sit in the French National Assembly for a 5-year term.

In the legislative elections, France is divided into 577 constituencies. Each candidate in each constituency competes in a first-past-the-post, two-round ballot.

If a candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes cast and a number of votes at least equal to 25% of the number of voters registered in the first round, he is elected.

Otherwise, a second round takes place.

All candidates who have received 12.5% ​​or more of the votes cast are qualified. The candidate with the most votes wins.

Obtaining a majority allows the president to carry out the policy for which he was elected.

The absolute majority is 289 deputies.

This year, the polls are not acquired for an absolute majority in favor of President Macron.

Political columnist and full professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Sherbrooke, Guillaume Rousseau, sheds light on 5 major issues.

Does the lack of post-presidential dynamics already put Emmanuel Macron in difficulty?

While the legislative elections are supposed to be a formality for the camp of the newly elected president, the shadow of a doubt hangs over the possibility of an absolute majority.

For Guillaume Rousseau, this lack of momentum is due to the fact that “the re-election of Mr. Macron as president was made possible by voters who voted less for him than against Mrs. Le Pen. And then, the union of the left created a dynamic favorable to this left which harmed the Macronist parties ”.

As a result, seeing polls announcing the absence of an absolute majority for his camp is already putting him in difficulty. “Either he will not have an absolute majority, or he will have one, but a very short one. It is quite problematic to govern given the political dynamics in France, ”he adds.

Can the NUPES win and can Jean-Luc Mélenchon be "elected" Prime Minister?

Unlike the presidential election, the left has united. This "new popular ecological and social union" hopes to make Jean-Luc Mélenchon the next prime minister.

Several controversies have enamelled it since its announcement, such as the recent anti-police remarks by Mr. Mélenchon. Nevertheless, the left bloc believes in its chances.

For Mr. Rousseau, “the union of left-wing parties can finish first in the first round, but will hardly be able to win in the second round. Right-wing voters whose candidates will be eliminated in the first round are likely to vote more for Macronist parties than for left-wing parties in the second round.

He adds that “the current polls announce for the left union about 200 deputies, which is far from the 289 necessary to form an absolute majority. However, this union currently has a dynamic in its favor which could bring it gains if it continues until the second round.

Will we witness the usual great erasure of the far right in the legislative elections, and following the disappearance of the republican right LR?

The different voting system from that of the presidential election often harms far-right forces.

Mr. Rousseau explains that “the polls give him (at the National Rally) about 20% support in the first round. It's not bad, but it's 7% and 8% behind the Macronists and the left. And the National Rally is often weak in the second round.

“We can expect it to take 30 or 40 seats maximum. It wouldn't be a collapse, because it had a lot less than that before the election was called, ”he adds.

The collapse would rather be for the traditional and republican right of the Les Républicains party.

“The polls give her around 11% of the voting intentions, which should translate into 40 or 50 seats, whereas in the last legislative elections she obtained more than a hundred.”

Can the presumed record abstention undermine the legitimacy of the results and the voting system?

Abstention is likely to be record high and the voting system is increasingly contested. Some commentators talk about the risk of a legitimacy deficit for future results.

Mr. Rousseau recalls that in a democracy the abstentionists are wrong.

“Barring an extremely low turnout, the outcome of a democratic election is always legitimate,” he explains.

He concludes by saying that “in terms of the voting method, if there is a strong discrepancy between the distribution of votes and that of seats, this could fuel criticism against the current mode. That said, this gap would also result from the choice of right-wing parties not to form a coalition.

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