Legislative: the keys to the second round

the essential
Participation, the carryover of votes from candidates beaten in the first round, party voting instructions and the central question of absolute or relative majority: these are the keys to the second round of legislative elections.

A surge of participation for the second round?

One of the keys to the second round remains the mobilization of abstainers, a particularly important challenge for the left-wing alliance of the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes), which perhaps has fewer votes in reserve than the majority. presidential. With yesterday an estimated abstention rate of 52.80% (according to Elabe), never legislative elections had, in fact, experienced such disinterest on the part of the French. The abstention rate was already 51.3% in 2017 compared to 42.78% in 2012.

Ten points more in ten years and 17 points more in 20 years, since the inversion of the calendar between presidential and legislative! Pending institutional reforms which promise to be urgent to reconnect citizens to politics – and in particular the introduction of a dose of proportional representation – the candidates qualified for the second round will try to convince the abstainers to return to the polls next Sunday and undoubtedly demonstrate pedagogy by explaining, beyond their respective programs, what a deputy is for and how his action influences their daily lives. A challenge but necessary.

According to a note from the Jean Jaurès Foundation, only 59% of French people believe that the Assembly plays a useful role…

The mechanics of vote reports and voting instructions

With 6,293 candidates in the running yesterday, the first round logically “skimmed” a number of applications, those of testimonies from “small” parties but also those from more established parties. The legislative voting system is implacable, especially in the event of strong abstention, since to qualify, it was necessary to obtain 12.5% ​​of the registered voters. With an abstention exceeding 50%, this amounted to having to win 25% of the votes. An abstention which thus favors duels in triangular or even quadrangular which will be very rare next Sunday. Qualified candidates, especially when they are neck and neck, will count on the carryover of votes from the eliminated. Postponements that will be anything but automatic.

Among the Republicans, for example, the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau has already announced that there will be no voting instructions for the second round. But others like Philippe Juvin and the proponents of the “outstretched hand” to Emmanuel Macron want to look at the situation in the constituencies on a case-by-case basis. Yesterday the boss of LR Christian Jacob assured that he did not want to give “no voice for the extremes” in the second round. The final position of the Republicans should be recorded in the coming hours during a strategic council of the party scheduled for Monday.

Majority voting guidelines trigger outcry on the left

For the presidential majority, the question of voting instructions is also delicate and arises in the case of Nupes-RN or Nupes-LR duels. “There are Nupes and Nupes” was noted at Ensemble, just to distinguish the candidates of the moderate left from those more radical. “It’s the Republican Front, against the extremes,” the presidential party explained last night, arguing that “some Nupes candidates are extreme: it will depend on the personality of the Nupes who is qualified, especially if he is someone who has the values ​​of the Republic. But we will not support any RN candidate. »

A position on a case-by-case basis which has ulcerated on the left. “And then LREM you do not withdraw for the socialist candidate of Nupes when there is a threat RN? You came to implore the votes of the left in the 2nd round of the presidential election and we were there! “, tackled the first secretary of the PS Olivier Faure, mentioning the situation in the 2nd district of Lot-et-Garonne. “I hear that Elisabeth Borne would refuse to call for a Republican barrage against the far right. When I called to block the second round of the presidential election, I did so with clarity. It’s up to you to have the honor of doing the same,” launched the communist Fabien Roussel.

For Delga: “vote against the RN and for the left”

On the left precisely, the instruction should be that of the Republican Front even if this one is much blunted. The PS president of the Occitanie region, Carole Delga, opposed to the Nupes agreement and who has defended dissident candidates, said it again yesterday with clarity: “Faithful to my convictions, I call for a vote against the RN and for the left”. “Not a voice for the National Rally” was also Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s instructions for the presidential election. It probably remains in place despite the reluctance of some who did not appreciate the words of Emmanuel Macron putting an equal sign between Nupes and RN.

Entering the campaign late, Marine Le Pen, who never thought it possible to win a majority, aims to obtain a “very important” group in the Assembly. The National Rally would get between 10 and 45 deputies, according to the first estimates. Yesterday, Marine Le Pen invited the French “not to choose” between Nupes and Ensemble.

The central question: absolute or relative majority?

This is obviously the central question of this second round: what majority will it be able to come out of the second round with two forces (La Nupes and Ensemble) almost neck and neck? If the projections in seats estimated by the polling institutes give an advance to the presidential majority, this one would not necessarily have an absolute majority (289 seats) but a relative majority (260 to 300 seats according to the Elabe institute).
For Emmanuel Macron, his second five-year term is therefore played out next Sunday, because without an absolute majority, he will be forced to seek additional votes – from “moderate” Socialists or from the Republicans – and therefore submit to incessant haggling… except to use article 49-3 to have the texts adopted without a vote…

The LRs have understood this well, who are playing their survival there and see themselves as kingmakers on each important text (pension reform, purchasing power, ecological planning, etc.). In the event of a relative majority, Mr. Macron should also manage the whims of his Horizons and MoDem allies. Such a situation of relative majority already occurred in 1988 with Michel Rocard. Some also believe that seeing the executive seek majorities for each project would be far from catastrophic and would restore all of its role as a deliberative body to the National Assembly.

The different majorities in the National Assembly

On the Nupes side (170 to 220 seats according to Elabe), we still want to believe in the possibility of imposing cohabitation on Emmanuel Macron. In 1997, the plural left of Lionel Jospin was beaten by the right before the first round, then it had garnered the votes and then the seats necessary for it to become the majority. Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his allies are counting on the same hypothesis and yesterday called for a “surge” so as not to give full powers to the President of the Republic. This “everything except Macron” had already been brandished in 2017, in vain. Could it work this time, while the projects of the Head of State on pensions and school arouse concern or even rejection in a large part of the opinion?

In any case from this Monday, the second round campaign should start on the hats with a mano a mano between Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon whose teams will undoubtedly dramatize the political issues that the French are called upon to decide. in six days.

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