The explosion of the legislative elections marks a structural and not simply cyclical evolution of the functioning of our democracy. With more than half of the electorate choosing to stay away from the ballot box (52.5% abstention) and an unobtainable electoral majority (Ensemble! collects only 245 seats, far from the 289 majority threshold), the electoral system is approaching from its sticking point and enters the era of minority democracy. Or more precisely in the era of minority a-democracy, an ersatz that cannot be viable over the long term.
The time of coalitions?
Let us note first of all that France joins its neighbors in a global evolution, economic globalization having brought about a democratic globalization aligning here too towards the lowest political bidder: in The democratic imperative (Editions du Borrego, 2019), I noticed that after the social-democratic (left)/Christian-democrat (right) alternation that had marked the political life of European countries for decades, opened up at the end of the 2000s the cycle of grand coalitions, on the model of the Groko German, the first trick to fight against the minority of supporters of bipartisanship.
Thus, in 2014, 16 of the 28 countries of the European Union were led by large coalitions combining conservatives and social-liberals. But democratic disavowal has also won them over: majorities have become impossible to find even in coalition mode and at the end of 2018 half of the EU countries (14 out of 28) were governed by a minority executive within its own national parliament.
The minority corset
So of course in France the majoritarian arsenal of the constitution of the Fifth Republic (and the inversion of the electoral calendar) delayed the deadline. The Emmanuel Macron of 2017, a kind of grand coalition on its own, may well have been an electoral stopgap for a time to keep a moribund system in place. But the legislative scam of 2022 makes us enter on the same level and in our turn into the minority corset. The exercise of power is no longer based solely on minority popular expression, as was already the case, but is now backed by representation that is also a minority.
Minority democracy is first expressed through abstention. Together and Nupes, who came out on top in the first round, can just claim to have gathered 12% of the electorate. Some MPs are elected with the support of just over 10% of voters in their constituency. The inversion of the electoral calendar having led to the legislative majority proceeding from the presidential election by ripple effect, it not only subjugated to the president of the deputies who owe him everything but also separated their legitimacy from their function. The legislative election has been devitalized and even the presidential stimulus is no longer enough: citizens are deserting the ballot box, as was already the case in 2017, but now they even refuse to grant a majority. No majority path emerges as it stands, which François Ruffin honestly concedes by acknowledging that ” the country is blocked, Emmanuel Macron today does not have the legitimacy to impose his project, Marine Le Pen does not have the legitimacy to impose his project. But it must be said, we don’t have a majority or the legitimacy to impose our project either. “.
The encephalogram of the left remains flat
This is where the trap of the tripartition of the political space closes on those who contributed to its establishment the day after the presidential election (that is to say almost all of them). The problem is indeed not a problem of choice but of political supply. Thus, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is mistaken when he affirms on the evening of the second round ” that a large part of France does not know where to turn so much so that the three blocks are on similar levels “. In fact, he pretends not to see (he who theorized abstention a few years ago as a civic strike) that it is not indecision that strikes the French but that the majority of citizens and in conscience choose to turn your back on these three political groups.
To judge, just take a look at the evolution between the 2017 and 2022 legislative elections: the Nupes won 5.8 million votes in 2022, which is exactly the same low level as LFI + PS + PCF + EELV there. at five years old, for the same score (25.6%). After five years of Macron, the encephalogram of the left remains flat. Worse, in 2017, the NUPES equivalent weighed in the legislative elections the equivalent of its presidential score (26%). In 2022, the NUPES loses 5 points compared to the 30.7% of the presidential election. It should be noted here that electoral cartels do not open up any prospect of a majority.
Tripartition, idiot trap?
The tripartition of the political space is content to be a tool for settling internal quarrels in each bloc but avoids confronting the real question, that of the ability to win in the second round. Because if the Macron / Le Pen presidential duel made it possible to verify once again that the RN cannot largely unite, it did not make it possible to validate or invalidate what was in other configurations. The legislative elections provide part of the answer: among the qualified candidates on the evening of the first round, only 35% of those from the Nupes ultimately win, against 42% for those from the RN, 58% for Together! and 79% for LR candidates.
READ ALSO: Jérôme Fourquet: “We turn away from the voting booth as we turned away from the church”
The vote reports easily explain it: according to Ipsos, in the event of a Nupes/Together duel!, LR voters abstained at 35% and voted Together at 60%, only 5% going to NUPES. Above all, 52% of RN voters did not vote, 30% going to NUPES and 18% to Together. In other words, the Nupes, in its positioning circumscribed to an identity left, can only capture on the margins the rejection, however overpowering, of macronism and cannot claim the majority. Such banishment appears even more serious consequences when we examine the Nupes / RN duels: 72% of voters Together! in this case abstained, 16% voted Nupes and 12% RN. In the same scenario, 58% of LR voters did not vote, 30% voted RN and 12% Nupes. In other words, the political positioning of the Nupes, if it makes it possible to have elected representatives, is neither a factor of aggregation in the first round, nor of rallying in the second.
Only the RN wins…
The majority perspective having become a blind spot in the analysis, tripartition was able to impose itself as a backdrop for minority democracy. It makes minority governance almost mechanical and gives the illusion to each of the blocs that it brings it a little closer to power. But only the RN wins: without even having to recall the historical precedents that have allowed the far right to come to power in the past, it benefits from an electoral dynamic (+1.2 million votes, i.e. + 40% of votes cast between 2017 and 2022) making such a prospect increasingly credible. But for the time being, because it is not so much the attraction of one (Together!) as the repulsion of the others (Nupes and RN) which is at the heart of such a tripartition, it is for the central element that is Emmanuel Macron a political life insurance: even in an electoral stampede, he reigns over a representation of all minority shares and especially over a popular desert.
READ ALSO: “If LR wants to become an important force again, it cannot be Macron’s minor partner”
However, this is not without consequences. From 2018 the hiatus in legitimacy exploded in the face of the country with the movement of yellow vests. Two legitimacies were then confronted between the electoral legitimacy of President Macron and popular sovereignty, by nature permanent and inalienable. However, the legislative elections of 2022 lift the veil a little more with the end of the very illusion of a governmental or representative majority. In a context of hard economic crisis to come (and geopolitical instability), how will this break in the chain between sovereignty-legitimacy-consent be expressed in the coming months? And how will those who govern us react: in fact, they only have the choice between going through in force or resigning by repeated calls to the ballot box in an attempt to ” to correct » popular disavowal, like in Spain where 3 general elections were called between December 2015 and June 2018.
No more electoral majority possible!
Everything in the political landscape announced since 2017 that the electoral majorities would become untraceable and that the system would put in place the ultimate avatar of its renewal. Moreover, no dynamic emerged during the previous legislature in the institutional field. The only ones who have come forward have found their source outside of it and represent the fulcrum for the future because without a popular majority, an electoral majority is no longer possible. Except to agree to hear in an almost Orwellian way that “the minority is the majority”.
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“We have entered the era of minority democracy”
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