French elections : Left alliance unlikely to win majority in new assembly

Julien Bayou (R), Ecologist party (EELV) general secretary, listens Jean-Luc Melenchon (L), leader of the 'NUPES' (Nouvelle Union Populaire Ecologique et Sociale), a coalition of Leftist and Ecologist parties, delivering a speech after the results of the first round of the French legislatives elections, at his party headquarter in Paris, France, 12 June 2022. The legislative elections in France will be held on 12 and 19 June 2022 to elect the 577 members for the National Assembly of the French Republic. [EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON]

France’s recently formed left-wing alliance led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon finished neck-and-neck with President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble! group in Sunday’s first round of the legislative elections. However, everything is pointing toward it failing to get a majority in the second round on 19 June. EURACTIV France reports.

The new left-wing coalition, dubbed NUPES, came in second in the first round of the parliamentary elections on Sunday with 25.66% – just behind the 25.75% obtained by Macron’s presidential majority.

NUPES  – which includes Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise, the Socialist Party, the Greens, and the Communist Party – scored below the joint score of 30.6% by all the left-wing parties combined in the presidential election in April, which saw Macron win his second five-year term.

In total, all left-wing parties should obtain between 150 and 210 seats, thus multiplying by three or four the number of deputies compared to the previous legislature, as the various polling institutes – Ipsos and Ifop in particular – have projected.

This is still not enough to command a majority in the 577-seat Assembly, but Macron’s Ensemble could also fall short of an absolute majority, making it more difficult for his government to steer legislation through.

Compared to the previous legislative elections in 2017, the left-wing camp has made gains. Back then, left-wing parties obtained about 21% in the first round, in a context where Macron had won over a good part of the social-democratic electorate.

The leftist alliance also came out as the leading political force among voters under 34, with 42% in the 18-24-bracket and 38% among 25-34-year-olds voting in its favour, an Ipsos study showed.

The alliance also scored high among voters in executive positions with 28%, even though support for the group is more common among lower-income groups and corporate executives generally don’t vote in favour of far-left or radical left parties.

For Mélenchon’s radical left, a large increase in the number of seats is expected. instead of the 17 outgoing deputies, it should now have at least 100 deputies in the new parliament. Outgoing La France Insoumise deputy Danièle Obono and first-time candidate Sophia Chikirou, who both ran for constituencies in Paris, were elected in the first round.

The Greens are also expected to make extraordinary gains, as they are projected to win 20 seats in the National Assembly, compared to just one in 2017.

However, the left alliance’s future remains unclear as the different parties have announced that they will each sit in a separate group, rather than as a common bloc.

As they have diverging opinions on important policy matters like nuclear and the EU, it is not sure whether the bloc will survive in the long term even though it is becoming increasingly clear that the left is moving towards the more radical side of the political spectrum.

[Edited by Daniel Eck/Zoran Radosavljevic]

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French people living abroad voted for the first round of the legislative elections a week …

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