Today is April 20, 2022. And we are 4 days away from the second round of the French Presidential elections.
Today is the big debate. It’s a major ritual. Every presidential election has one and this year is expected to be closely watched given the current context. That’s usually the moment where both candidates are scrutinized for their knowledge of major topics; fiscal and economic policies, purchasing power, pensions, international politics and geopolitics. Every major aspect falls under the scrutiny of voters during that fantastic ritual.
Yet all eyes are already on the campaign for the National Assembly on June 12 & 19. Because all eyes are now on the head of the government expected to actually conduct policies, regardless of who wins on Sunday, the next president, be it a renewed mandate for Macron or a new mandate for Le Pen, a Prime Minister is needed to actually implement the program that both candidates will be talking about tonight.
So it goes without saying, that given the result of the first round on April 10, whatever measures are debated tonight, their implementation will depend on who holds the spot of Prime Minister from June, 8 weeks from now.
And precisely because of that conundrum, Jean- Luc Mélenchon already calls these general elections the 3rd round of the Presidential elections. He knows, and voters too, that whatever the debate will focus on this evening about each candidate’s program, none of it can happen without the support of a supporting majority at the National Assembly
As it stands now, the current National Assembly was elected 5 years ago with
577 Members. It will again be elected for another 5 year mandate, but the present picture will dramatically change if we believe the snapshot revealed by the presidential vote in the first round.
Right now, the Presidential Majority is made of members of parliament who give their support to Macron: 346 members are part of the Presidential Majority split into La République En Marche Group 267, Democratic Movement or MoDem 57 members, and Agir Ensemble (Acting Together) with 22 members. That’s a comfortable majority.
The opposition is made of Les Républicains (101 members), from the right wing, the Socialists (28 members) from the left wing, the Union of Democrats and Independent group (19 members), a centrist movement, Libertés et Territoires, Liberties and Territories, (18 members) a center left and right movement, La France Insoumise from the left wing (17 members), headed by Jean Luc Mélenchon, the Democratic and Republican Left made of other left wing parties which also includes the Communist Party (15 members) and finally a group of non aligned members (23 members).
Under the current configuration that I just described, the Presidential Majority can easily rely on a wider support from even outside its own groups of 346 members. In the last 5 years, there have been a lot of topics that have benefited from the support of other groups from the right wing to the center.
Yet, the new results revealed by the first round will probably generate a new picture for these general elections. Le France Insoumise with the current 17 members at the National Assembly will certainly seek to leverage the dynamic of the first round at the presidential elections, and it is highly likely that it will not remain at 17 members.
Meanwhile, the traditional parties of left and right will probably suffer. The right wing represented by Les Républicains will have a lot trouble maintaining its 101 members at the National Assembly. The Socialists too, with 28 members, will find it hard to remain influential at the National Assembly.
This is what makes Jean Luc Mélenchon hopeful for the general elections in June, and this is why he already calls it the 3rd Round of the Presidential elections. He knows what comes down the road; whatever measures are discussed tonight by both candidates will have to go through the filters of a majority that he may well control as a Prime Minister. It’s a conundrum, the 3rd round conundrum.
It’s the elephant in the room that none of the candidates tonight can even afford to evoke openly.
That’s what I wanted to share with you.
Let me know if you have questions and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Feel free to comment.