Legislative elections in France: five things to remember from the first round

Record abstention

Less than one in two voters went to the polls on Sunday. Abstention in the first round of legislative broke a new record to be between 52.1% and 53.2%, according to estimates. It is slightly stronger than five years ago when it reached the 51.3% mark. In the second round, it had even reached 57.36%. During the April presidential election, there was a rebound in turnout (26.3% abstention in the first round), which was therefore short-lived. Since the introduction of the five-year term and the reversal of the electoral calendar in 2002, voters are increasingly struggling to mobilize to appoint their deputies to the National Assembly.

The left in the lead

United under the banner of Nupes (LFI, PCF, PS and EELV), the left arrived neck and neck or even slightly ahead of the first round with just over 25% of the vote, against the outgoing presidential majority. . The leader of this alliance, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who had presented the legislative elections as the “third round of the presidential election”, immediately called on left-wing voters “to surge next Sunday” for the second round. If the estimates were confirmed, it would be the first time that a party having won the presidential election would not come out on top in the first round since the start of the Fifth Republic.

Majority not guaranteed

The projections of the polling institutes for the second round do not guarantee an absolute majority for Together!. According to projections, the outgoing majority would be in a range between at least 255 and at most 310 seats. If Together! does not reach the 289-seat mark, this confederation would only have a relative majority and could be forced to seek allies, for example from the side of the Republicans, who obtained around 12% of the vote, i.e. more than two times the score of their candidate Valérie Pécresse in the first round of the presidential election but much less than in 2017 (18.7%).

The RN is targeting a group

Behind Together! and Nupes, the National Rally ranks third with around 19% of the vote, a strong increase compared to 2017 (13.2%). With this result, Marine Le Pen, who personally would have obtained more than half of the votes in her constituency of Pas de Calais, hopes to obtain next Sunday at least the 15 deputies necessary to form a group in the National Assembly. It would be a first since 1986.

The big losers

In the Var, the far-right polemicist Eric Zemmour, who had reached 7% of the votes during the presidential election, bit the dust. He was eliminated in the first round, like the former Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, who wore the colors of the majority in the 4th constituency of Loiret. Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, also the majority candidate, did not pass the first round in the 5th constituency of French people living abroad, who had voted a week ago already.

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