The 2022 legislative elections mark a profound reorganization of the French political landscape. If 2017 saw the overcoming of the right-left divide, in particular with the election of Emmanuel Macron, followed by the wave of elected deputies of La République en Marche (LRM), 2022 is the year of tripartition. Three poles of equal weight structure the political offer. First, the central pole, that of the outgoing presidential majority, made up of Ensemble!, a coalition of LRM – which will become Renaissance in July –, MoDem and Horizons. The second, the pole of the left, is embodied by the New Popular, Ecological and Social Union (Nupes), which brings together the main formations of the left of government. Finally, the National Rally (RN), which represents the extreme right pole.

Once this observation has been made, it is appropriate to look in more detail at this new political situation. Because each pole is imperfect. In Together!, it is the “Walkers” who dominate their allies. At Nupes, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and La France insoumise (LFI) exercise an undeniable pre-eminence over their ecologist, socialist and communist partners. These two poles must, moreover, face many dissidences. As for the far right, the predominance of the RN suffers from the emergence of Reconquest!, the movement of Eric Zemmour.

To better analyze this new political reality, Le Monde and a team of researchers from the “LEGIS-2022” project wanted to X-ray the candidacies in the 577 electoral districts, in order to draw a composite portrait of this new political France. Will there be a strong turnover of elected officials? What place for women? What impact will dissenting nominations have? What is the internal balance of power within the different rallying points?

Lower renewal

The first notable change from the 2022 vintage is the number of applications. In 2017, they were 7,882 to present themselves. Their number has fallen sharply in 2022 – especially after the gathering of left-wing forces in Nupes – since 6,290 candidates (according to the latest figures from the Ministry of the Interior) are in the running for the June 12 ballot, or around eleven per year. constituency. The record number of candidates (22 in total) is reached in the 9th constituency of French people living abroad (Maghreb and West Africa). Conversely, the constituency of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon will see four candidates opposing each other.

Another important data concerns the renewal, much less important than it was in 2017. They were then 220 deputies not to represent themselves. They are only 136 in 2022. The majority of outgoing people come from the ranks of La République en Marche, with 207 deputies standing for re-election.

Trade-offs within the Together! have created the conditions for marked dissent in the camp of the outgoing presidential majority since there have been more than 70 cases of dissent, two-thirds of which are due to LRM dissidents. On the side of the Republicans, the candidates are fewer than in 2017 (461 in 2022 against 480 in 2017) including a minority of incumbents (71). A few cases of semi-departures or “in reserve” support should be noted, such as that of the president of the Les Républicains party, Christian Jacob, who will be a substitute for candidate Isabelle Périgault in Seine-et-Marne.

The question of dissidence is also significant on the left. The birth of the Nupes created frustrations among the candidates disinvested in order to make room for the partners and aroused, in particular in the Socialist Party (PS), substantive opposition to certain LFI proposals, relating to disobedience to the European treaties, to international and nuclear politics. In the socialist ranks, there are thus about sixty dissidents, far ahead of the other components of the Nupes, bringing the total number of dissidents to more than 80.

The socialist dissidents are located for the most part in the territories where the PS has been established for a long time and where the agreement with LFI did not allow it to obtain nominations in sufficient numbers, in New Aquitaine or in Occitanie, in the North and Pas-de-Calais or north of Brittany. However, given the extent of the electoral agreement between the main forces on the left, the number of these dissidences should be put into perspective, especially if we make a comparison with the legislative elections of 2017, during which a large number of candidates of LRM came from the ranks of the PS.

In this political family, it should also be emphasized that the fragmentation is not limited to the dissidents of the Nupes. A whole social-democratic, republican or radical-socialist political offer finds expression in candidacies located outside the coalition led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, like the Federation of the Republican Left, which brings together socialist dissidents and candidates hostile to the union of the left around LFI (Republican and Citizen Movement, Radical Left Party, Republican and Socialist Left, Friends of Arnaud Montebourg, etc.). In addition, the Pirate Party, the Animalist Party and a whole group of citizen or environmental movements are presenting hundreds of candidates throughout France. Without being formally classified on the left, these formations offer alternative offers to the Nupes, likely to capture part of its electorate. The question of the postponement of these votes will be one of the keys to the second round.

Marked geographical distribution

Finally, the last important question relates to the distribution of nominations by party. These data are useful for understanding the balance of power that runs through the left and the presidential majority. Thus, LFI seeks to consolidate its presence in the constituencies that voted overwhelmingly for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The Mélenchonists present candidates in the majority of the constituencies of the North – department in which Adrien Quatennens was elected in 2017 and is a candidate again -, of the Bouches-du-Rhône – where Mr. Mélenchon was elected and where his lieutenant, Manuel Bompard , claims to succeed him in the 4th district -, in Paris, and in Seine-Saint-Denis, a department which elected in 2017 several of the LFI executives such as Clémentine Autain, Eric Coquerel, Alexis Corbière, candidates for their re-election. LFI therefore takes the lion’s share of these strongholds.

The 67 socialist candidates are only present in 58 departments and, often, for a single constituency, except in Bouches-du-Rhône (three candidates) or a few other departments such as Paris, Hauts-de-Seine or the North. Leading socialist personalities saved their investiture: the first secretary, Olivier Faure, in Seine-et-Marne, the president of the socialist group of the National Assembly, Valérie Rabault, in Tarn-et-Garonne, or Jérôme Guedj , the former president of the department, in Essonne. Many socialist dissidents have stood as candidates in departments that were PS strongholds, particularly in Hérault – in the region of the president of the Occitanie region, Carole Delga, a figure of the left opposition to Nupes –, in the Sarthe – department of the former Minister of Agriculture and close to François Hollande, Stéphane Le Foll –, or even in Seine-Maritime, former Fabiusian land.

The territorial distribution of environmental candidates is that of a capitalization on the achievements of the municipal elections of 2020, in the large cities, where their electorate is important, as in Paris, in the Rhône – department of the mayor of Lyon, Grégory Doucet -, in Isère, where Eric Piolle heads the town hall of Grenoble, or in Gironde, where Pierre Hurmic administers the town hall of Bordeaux. As for the Communist candidacies, they reflect the desire to preserve their historic strongholds and the Communist personalities established “in the old way”, such as those of the national secretary of the Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, in the North or the boss of the Communist deputies in the Assembly, André Chassaigne, in Puy-de-Dôme.

In contrast, the location choices of the Together! are not marked by a particular geographical prism, with the exception of Ile-de-France, where the presidential party has captured the vast majority of nominations. An even higher proportion is in Paris, an area of ​​strength for La République en Marche since the 2017 elections and the 2019 European elections: 16 of the 18 candidates invested are under the LRM label. Only the 11th constituency is reserved for outgoing MP (MoDem) Maud Gatel, and the 18th for outgoing Pierre-Yves Bournazel (Horizons). More generally, the presidential party has crisscrossed the entire territory with a homogeneous distribution of its nominations. Note, however, a stronger representation of its allies in the Center-Val de Loire region, where the MoDem is very present.