“I will never surrender, I will do my democratic duty next Sunday and I invite all voters to do the same, the choice is between the extremes and the blank vote. My vote will therefore be blank.” You have to see it to believe it. These words are those of the presidential majority candidate Alexandrine Pintus in the 11th constituency of Pas-de-Calais on the evening of Sunday June 12: after her elimination, she is now forced to choose between Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally who arrived in head, and Marine Tondelier, Europe Ecology-Les Verts de la Nupes candidate. She refuses, sending the two candidates back to back, the two formations. The boss of the Republic in March, Stanislas Guerini, had to set the record straight this Monday morning in a terse tweet: “Let’s be very clear: not a voice for the RN. Faced with Marine Le Pen, I call for vote Marine Tondelier in the second round of the legislative elections.”

Whether it was motivated by a particularly trying campaign or a momentary loss of political compass, Alexandrine Pintus’ position reflects the extent to which the majority got bogged down on the evening of this first round of legislative elections over the 58 duels between the RN and Nupes. A number that she had largely underestimated, which explains why, shortly after 8 p.m. on France 2, the government spokesperson, Olivia Grégoire, was unable, or unable, to express clear instructions. After having requested it in the interval between the two presidential rounds, LREM put an end to the Republican Front.

The degree of unpreparedness for these eventualities has been felt throughout the past week. On the extent of the phenomenon, first of all: how to explain that, on the same day, a pillar of the government, with long political experience, anticipated “about fifty finals between the RN and the Nupes” and another, brought to to speak on election night, ensured that there would not be more than ten? The aces of the electoral map have struck again. Even at the highest level of Macronie, at the Elysée precisely, the scenario of many RN / Nupes duels was brushed aside. One of Emmanuel Macron’s closest advisers dared, four days before the election, to answer our question about a possible voting instruction in this case with this bold statement: “The goal is that there are no RN/Nupes duels.” Bet failed.

Basically, it doesn’t matter how many. Fifty-eight, twelve or two, the brains surrounding the President of the Republic should have planned a long time ago a concrete strategy to avoid any cacophony on the evening of the vote. Obviously, they would be expected at the turn. The subject is so eruptive. Around the president, however, there are seasoned officials who have become specialists in this kind of situation! Positioning vis-à-vis the Republican front has poisoned the right for decades: a certain Thierry Solère, special adviser at the Elysée and political strategist, could he not have taken a look the rear-view mirror, to share his experience – isn’t he there for that? – and draw up a draft plan? Or even a Sébastien Lecornu, who has become Minister of the Armies and close to the Head of State? A few lieutenants of the President of the Republic may have said in the middle of the week that the speech was “stalled”, on the verge of even being finalized, this is not the feeling given Sunday evening at 8 p.m. “The messages to be given during election night, you always do them during election night, not four days before,” explains a majority adviser.

This lack of anticipation probably explains the ambient cacophony on TV sets on Sunday evening. A few minutes before going there, the pundits of Macronie leave Emmanuel Macron’s office with the same certainty, dictated by the boss’s advisers: there will be no more than ten duels between the bloc of left and far right. “They are suckers, let them come out of the Elysée a little,” stings an experienced and locally rooted minister who, for his part, had made the good prognosis for a while. “It was the case in the projections of the institutes!”, We defend ourselves in the majority. The speech shaped at this moment and spat out – with difficulty – by government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire at 8 p.m. is therefore the following: “Since it is extremely rare, let’s not make it a national issue, let’s send it back to the local , this is not the issue of the evening and let’s avoid talking only about that”, deciphers a macronist at the heart of the machine. He can’t help but add, a bit disillusioned: “A strategy that obviously worked well, huh…”

While, just a few minutes after the results, Minister Clément Beaune reiterated his desire to call for a vote for Nupes, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne declared, for her part, what she had said so far in private: “In the face of extremes, we will not yield to either side.” “Personally”, the macronists of all stripes reveal their divergent sensibilities. Eyes then turn to the president. What will Emmanuel Macron’s line be? Sunday evening, in her entourage, it was said that she was clear and constant: “No voice for the RN.”

Faced with the insistence of journalists and the increasing number of cases of RN / Nupes duels, the leaders of the presidential majority will therefore change gear – finally, “decide on an evolution during the evening”, as the they say in Macronie – at the request of Emmanuel Macron himself reports Politico’s Playbook newsletter. On BFMTV, the spokesperson for La République en Marche, Maud Bregeon, herself a candidate in the Hauts-de-Seine, claims to want to “be extremely clear”: “Not a voice should go to the National Rally and everywhere we are calling to beat the far-right candidates,” she said. So… to vote, wherever necessary, for Nupes? It’s not so clear.

Because there is no question for the presidential camp to establish a national discourse. The decision will be made on a case by case basis. Go for a socialist, communist, or green candidate: as Elisabeth Borne repeated this Monday morning in a tweet or Olivia Grégoire on RTL, the PCF presidential candidate Fabien Roussel will, for example, be supported by the majority. But for the rest ? “The line decided is not that of the Republican front, it’s true, recognizes an adviser to La République en Marche. Why? Because some Mélenchonists, saying in particular that ‘the police kill’, are not Republicans. The lack of consistency is not with us, it is with LFI.” This Monday morning, however, the new Minister of National Education Pap Ndiaye tweeted that “the fight against the far right is not a variable geometry principle” adding the hashtag

Still, the majority assumes to take up, in some cases, the line adopted by Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the evening of the first two rounds of the presidential elections of 2017 and 2022 – and which has earned him numerous criticisms for its lack of clarity. : not a vote for the RN, for the rest, do what you want. Curious reversal of history.