France’s rejuvenated left-wing parties appear to be gaining ground on President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist allies ahead of legislative elections this month, raising fears the ruling party may fail to secure a majority.
A new poll, released late Wednesday by the Ifop-Fiducial group, suggested that Macron’s Ensemble (“Together”) coalition would win 275 to 310 seats in the vote, possibly below the 289 needed for a majority.
The first round will take place on June 12 and the second one a week later on June 19. Only then will the shape of the new parliament be clear.
A new group of left-wing parties led by far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon made significant gains with 170 to 205 seats, according to the poll.
“We take this seriously because in the media and in the polls, the only person who exists, apart from the presidential majority, is Jean-Luc Mélenchon,” the ruling party MP told France 2 on Thursday. Aurora Berge.
She said Melenchon’s new “Nupes” coalition, which includes the Greens, Socialists and Communists, was the only “strong and credible” alternative.
But if voters failed to give Macron a majority after his re-election on April 24, it would represent a “major destabilization of politics in our country for years to come”, she warned.
France has not had a president and a parliamentary majority from different parties since 1997-2002, when right-wing President Jacques Chirac found himself working with socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
A constitutional amendment in 2000 was to put an end to this kind of political deadlock by moving the legislative elections immediately after the presidential elections.
A new poll by the BVA group on Friday found that only 35% of voters wanted Macron to have a majority, reflecting the deeply fractured nature of the electorate.
Macron defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the run-off presidential election on April 24, winning a second five-year term.
Although he has a free hand on foreign policy regardless of the outcome of parliamentary elections, his national agenda of tax cuts, welfare reform and raising the retirement age depends on the vote. .
Melenchon, a former Trotskyist who leads the La France Insoumise party, has a radically different program that calls for lowering the retirement age to 60, wealth tax and raising the minimum wage by 15%.
An average of the polls, as calculated by the Politico website, still suggests Macron would win a majority if the vote took place today and the polls remain unreliable, some experts say.
Current projections leave virtually no chance for the left to win an absolute majority and form a government.
But at a campaign rally on Wednesday night, Melenchon spoke about the chances of the left, which failed to agree on a common presidential candidate.
“We came together to tell the country ‘we are an alternative if you understand that things cannot go on as they are'”, he declared in front of 1,500 people in Paris.
He hopes the left’s promise of more social spending and environmental protections, along with anger over rising prices caused by the war in Ukraine, will spur supporters to come forward.
“If people think we can win, they’ll go vote in their charges, their clusters, their cars,” the charismatic septuagenarian told the room to loud applause.
“There is real hope,” Socialist party leader Olivier Faure told AFP recently.
Macron’s LREM party launched a new online poster campaign on Wednesday, saying people shouldn’t be “fooled” about “Nupes”.
Polls suggest Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party would win around 25-49 seats if the vote were held today, while the mainstream right-wing Republican party could see its presence shrink to 39-62 seats .
Brice Teinturier, political scientist and head of the Ipsos polling group, warned Thursday about the difficulties in making projections in terms of the number of seats for each group.
The French showed little appetite for the campaign, making high abstention rates likely, and the modeling by the polling groups was highly uncertain.
“You can have 40-50 seats changing hands just because you have one or two points up or down (of the vote), or if you have an abstention rate that changes,” he said. on France Inter radio.
“We are speculating on things that are very fragile,” he said.