The result of the French presidential elections next Sunday is already known in advance: the president-candidate Emmanuel Macron will be re-elected against Marine Le Pen, leader of the extreme right. However, the difference in percentages between them will determine the political game in the new legislature for the next five years. If Macron does not obtain the support of the absolute majority, he will have to agree with other forces to carry out his program. This would predict, on the other hand, a scenario that Jean-Luc Mélenchon (21.95%), leader of La Francia Insumisa, and Marine Le Pen (23.15%), will be able to take advantage of to create a turbulent situation.
Wednesday’s debate between the two first-round finalists has clearly confirmed major differences. In her record as a candidate for the protest, the far-right leader has tried, this time cunningly, to put away her aggressiveness in the chaotic debate she then held against Macron in 2017, and now present a smooth profile, closely linked to the anxieties of the “people” and rooted in the daily life of the people. This close perspective served him to score only one goal against Macron in own goal. Because, deep down, her intervention has been devastating. Macron, acting president, and also astute, knew perfectly the political resume of her opponent, he was able to recreate the details without hesitation, advancing figures and measures, on which she could not answer. This political and technical superiority of Macron, at certain moments of the debate, also had the effect of acting with a certain condescension towards the candidate of the extreme right.
The difference in level was clear between the two, although the citizen experience, over the last 15 years, has generated great skepticism regarding the tenants of the Elysée Palace. Sarkozy (2007-2012) was vetoed by the electorate for trivializing solemnity and the serious exercise of power, as well as for polarizing political life with identity issues; François Hollande (2012-2017), for his frivolity and incompetence, and Emmanuel Macron (since 2017), is now criticized for his distance from “deep” France. The gap between the political system and the world lived day by day is obvious, not to mention the degree of abstention in voting that continues to grow.
So the third “round” of this contest in the June legislative elections may throw up an unexpected force board. Mélenchon’s supporters predict, in the legislative elections, a political field divided between a Macronist liberal current, a Lepenista extreme right and a popular left pole represented by them. This vision is reductionist, because they think that their results in these presidential elections, like those of Marine Le Pen, will be mechanically reproduced in the legislative ones. It is much more likely to say that citizens will support Emmanuel Macron, because they will not trust an unstable political situation or a new cohabitation. The anger is real, but so is the will to get out of the permanent crisis.
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