The results of the first round of legislative elections in France are very bad for Emmanuel Macron.
According to forecasts, after the second round, his party, together, will end up collecting between 255 and 295 deputies. It needs 289 to be the majority.
It is possible that his party will have to rule in a minority way, by allying with another party. This shouldn’t be too difficult.
But many of the ministers Macron appointed to his cabinet before the elections may have to resign, and fail to be elected in the second round.
The biggest winner of this first round is Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He found himself at the head of a left-wing coalition, the Ecological and Social Union of the New People (Nupes), which, after the second round, was supposed to include between 150 and 190 deputies.
Thus, these legislative elections can serve as a starting point for the upcoming presidential elections. He also held the position of Prime Minister. The election results do not justify his candidacy, but this claim serves the image of the new legitimacy he has begun to build.
Mélenchon has yet to win the game. The next presidential election is a long way off, and he will have a lot to do to keep his alliance intact.
However, despite the different expected numbers of MPs, Together and Nupes have very similar voting rates, around 25% each. Melenchon still rejoices here.
Turnout in the first round seems to be very low. It is possible to estimate that only about 48% of registered voters would have stepped down to vote. This rate has been declining since 2002. In 1978, nearly 85% of registered voters would have voted.
This troubling voter discontent is bad news for French democracy.
Why so few people will vote?
In France, it’s easy to go vote. Therefore, the conditions for voting are not in question.
Similarly, Ensemble, the center-right, and Nobis, on the left, each presented very different election platforms from each other. So it is not a problem of the extreme convergence of party programs.
Why this indifference?
One could argue, to borrow a famous title from Quebec cinema, that comfort breeds apathy. However, the situation of the yellow vests and high inflation that the country is experiencing is uncomfortable.
Evil appears to be deeper.
It may be related to the feeling among voters that national elected officials can do little for them. This would explain why the turnout in the presidential election, which is seen as the bastion of power, is much higher.
It may also be that other voters, increasingly disillusioned and individualistic, have come to the conclusion that only they can represent them.
Why such a low turnout? The question is still open.