In France it’s back to the polls. The general election is about the President securing a strong majority in the National Assembly. Will it work this time?
Some people rub their eyes when looking at France. While Emmanuel Macron felt the competition from the right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen when he was re-elected president a few weeks ago, the danger for the liberals in the first round of the parliamentary elections comes from the left.
The polling stations in the country opened in the morning, after some overseas territories had already voted on Saturday due to the time difference.
The left veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon had succeeded in uniting the fragmented left camp behind him and attacking Macron. As a shrewd speaker and strategist, he distinguished himself in an election campaign that Macron stayed out of until shortly before the end. Now he has to fear for his absolute parliamentary majority.
Mélenchon still does not admit defeat
In third place, Mélenchon was eliminated in the first round of the presidential election despite a strong 22 percentage, but did not admit defeat. “Elect me Prime Minister,” the 70-year-old announced promptly, and without further ado declared the parliamentary elections to be the third round of voting in order to decide on the balance of power in France. The parliamentary elections are actually seen as confirmation of the presidential elections and are deliberately placed shortly thereafter.
Germany and Europe can still count on France
What is certain is that Germany and Europe can continue to count on France as a reliable partner. Macron will probably not allow any compromises on his pro-European course and the solidarity with Berlin. In the Ukraine conflict, France will also remain an integral part of the West’s united front against the aggressor Russia.
Meanwhile, turnout is at a low, only 40 to 49 percent of people want to cast their vote, Brice Teinturier, director of the polling institute Ipsos, told the newspaper “Le Parisien” on Saturday. “For the French, the presidential election is the decisive vote,” said Teinturier. They see little benefit in reshuffling the cards in the parliamentary elections. However, Macron cannot rely on this because trust in the government is low. When it comes to securing purchasing power – the core issue of Mélenchon – the population sees it as too slow, said the Ipsos boss.
And why has it become so quiet around Marine Le Pen, who got more than 40 percent in the runoff election for the highest state office? The reason for this is not a sudden change in mood in France – the right continues to have a lot of support – but the special nature of the parliamentary elections. In contrast to the presidential election, what counts here is local roots, and that’s not Le Pen’s strength. In the end, only the votes for the winner in the respective voting district count. And only a moderate increase in seats is predicted for Le Pen. (dpa)