Five knocked doors, and still no voter alive. Bruno Nottin attacks a sixth. A dog barks. ” Yes ? The door swung open on a cautious-looking woman in her forties. “It’s for the legislative elections. You know that the whole left is united around Jean-Luc Mélenchon? It’s good, no ? The woman lets out a polite “umm.” The candidate of the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) knows this tower in a popular district of Montargis (Loiret) by heart; he tries another approach.
“Did you see, Jean-Michel Blanquer comes to play his diva here? ” Same reaction to the mention of the name of the former Minister of National Education, also a candidate in the constituency: “Hmmm. “And the square downstairs?” It’s good, we saved you. The woman finally comes to life. The conversation flows without transition on the parking spaces and the charges of the building. A hundred leagues from national politics.
Who cares about parliamentary elections? In the aftermath of a passionless presidential election, the prospect of whether or not to offer a majority to Emmanuel Macron does not seem to mobilize the French. According to the Ipsos-Sopra Steria barometer for Le Monde, the Jean Jaurès Foundation and Cevipof, only 47% of them plan to go to the polls on June 12 and 19. Even less than the sad record of 2017 (48.70% participation).
Admittedly, Jean-Luc Mélenchon had the “talent”, recognize his opponents, to unite the left and shine the spotlight on this election by calling for him to be “elected” as prime minister of cohabitation of the head of state. But the stimuli did not prove powerful enough to awaken the inert body of French politics; no debate emerges from this campaign, which will seal the balance of power in the National Assembly for the next five years, and therefore the choices of the country.
“I have already experienced campaigns more at the heart of the news than this one, smiles the former Minister of Health Olivier Véran, now in charge of relations with Parliament, and himself a candidate in Isère. There is no consuming appetite for politics. We got out of Covid-19, it makes you want to enjoy life instead. »
A situation that does not seem to overly move Emmanuel Macron, accused by his opponents of having handled the “chloroform strategy” for six weeks while keeping silent about the agenda and the orientations of his five-year term – apart from a text on the consensual subject purchasing power. As if not to give points of attachment to his opponents.
In an interview with the regional daily press (PQR), Saturday June 4, the Head of State finally lifts the veil on some ambitions, just eight days before the election. The transformation of Pôle emploi into France Travail will be launched “as of this summer”, he announces; “air quality sensors” will be installed in schools “from the start of the school year”; and the cross-party commission on the reform of institutions will be set up “as of this fall”.
As for the emblematic pension reform, it will come “into force from the summer of 2023”, he promised, but being careful not to specify its content, after having defended, during the presidential campaign, the idea a postponement of the legal retirement age to 65 years. Above all, do not announce anything divisive before the opening of the polls.
Despite his promise to “act” relentlessly after his re-election, the Elysée tenant gives free rein to the “breathing” and “settling” of a society that his troops describe as “tired”. After having had a “Bonapartist moment” in his previous mandate, Emmanuel Macron recently affirmed, in front of a relative, that he wanted to “build the unity of the country by associating people”.
“I want to bring together a National Council for Refoundation, with the political, economic, social, associative forces, elected representatives of the territories and citizens drawn by lot”, he explains in the PQR. The latter “will be initiated immediately after the legislative elections”. “We will give ourselves several months to identify needs and build projects,” assumes the head of state. It is urgent to take your time.
The entourage of Mr. Macron is pleased to see him reach a level of popularity (46% of good opinions, according to the FIFG) comparable to that of Jacques Chirac after his victory against Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2002. Prelude , at the time, to a motionless five-year term.
The discretion of the macronist camp since the presidential election has fueled the resentment of the opposition. “Macron is continuing his attempt to kill all democratic debate and all sense of politics, grumbles Jean-Philippe Tanguy, former deputy campaign director for Marine Le Pen and candidate for the National Rally (RN) in the Somme. He disappears voluntarily, appoints an identical government, with technocratic clones without any political substance. It is only the old recipe of “there is no alternative”, that of the camp of reason to preserve the conservative coalition of boomers. Nothing must change for nothing to change! »
In the staff of the far-right party, several executives admit their pessimism about their chances of flooding the Hemicycle with a “blue-white-red” wave, promise of Marine Le Pen that the person concerned qualifies by setting the (ambitious) objective of sixty MEPs. Abstention risks weighing down RN candidates. A fatalism that does not encourage “national mobilization”, according to the formula chosen for the two party meetings planned in Cavaillon (Vaucluse) and Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais), Saturday and Sunday.
MEP Thierry Mariani, elected on the RN list – who has just returned from a week’s vacation – explains this disinterest by the fact that, “since the introduction of the five-year term, the French know that there is no ‘stakes “. “The winning side mobilizes and the losing side demobilizes. Marine is telling the truth: no one sincerely believes Macron can be beaten,” said Nicolas Sarkozy’s former minister. The fear of the far right – one of the driving forces behind the mobilization of Macronist voters since 2017 – should therefore not be there this time.
“Without the Le Pen scarecrow in the legislative elections, Emmanuel Macron is reduced to drowning out the noise of the campaign so as not to wake up the voters. The problem is that by saying nothing he becomes the catch-all of the most contradictory hopes, ”warns Vendée senator Bruno Retailleau (Les Républicains, LR). The head of state, he believes he displayed the color during the presidential campaign. But since then everything has been scrambled: who understood what Emmanuel Macron intended to do with the French pension system?
The right is bitter. For a month, LR was paralyzed at the idea of seeing his troops rally to the majority or enter the government, which the President of the Republic was slow to appoint. Six deputies took the plunge and endorsed the macronist banner, including the former president of the group, Damien Abad, propelled minister of solidarity – and immediately swept away in the whirlwind of accusations of rape on which justice has decided, for the time being , not to open an investigation.
The LR candidates for the legislative elections therefore campaigned alone, without a national voice, entrenched in their constituencies and the conviction that their local roots will save them from an announced rout.
Anguish in the macronist ranks
In this context of depoliticization of the campaign, Jean-Luc Mélenchon plays a different card and uses the strategy of personalization at full speed, displaying throughout France his face crossed out with the slogan “Mélenchon prime minister”. “We can make fun of the formula: yes, it’s the third round” of the presidential election, claims the leader of Nupes, for whom “this election has given no political mandate to the person who concentrates the whole powers “.
The “rebellious” are trying to fuel the idea that the energy and fuel price control measures introduced by the government will be paid for by a brutal catch-up in the aftermath of the legislative elections. But the executive has handed out few specific measures against which to attack. So Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the Nupes candidates go to the bedside of all struggles: one day in the hospital, another at school. Wednesday, again, in front of the National Library of France, to denounce the consequences of “austerity” on public research.
As the elections approach, a deaf anguish in the ranks of the Macronists, fueled by the trend of polls down slightly: what if this strategy of freezing the debate ends up harming the head of state and turning into an “industrial accident ? The fear of only obtaining a relative majority, which would force consensus with other political forces, is beginning to gain ground.
By reappearing on the ground, Tuesday and Thursday, for trips on health and education, and by giving an interview to the PQR on Friday, Emmanuel Macron gives the signal that he intends to lead the fight himself. The reserve period set up by Matignon during the legislative campaign, after all, does not concern the President of the Republic. In his entourage, some plead to leak good news before the election, such as the revaluation of the index point of civil servants. “The election will be decided in the last days. The campaign is going to be short,” agrees Olivier Véran. A brief boost, before getting back to cruising speed.