In a secret objective that has become a pipe dream, Emmanuel Macron wanted to obtain an absolute majority in the National Assembly which would have rested on the only deputies of his party, those of the Republic on the move, which must now be called Renaissance. At the end of the first round, the projections of the polling institutes suggest that even with his allies, grouped under the label Together!, Emmanuel Macron could not manage to obtain an absolute majority, but only relative. Note the major difference between the two situations. An absolute majority means obtaining half of the seats plus one in the National Assembly. In this case, the president’s projects would not encounter major obstacles, and in a five-year term where Emmanuel Macron plans to change the retirement age from 62 to 65, this prospect looks like a necessity. The relative majority, on the other hand, is the obtaining of the greatest number of seats compared to the other parties. In other words, it is a sham victory and constant negotiation, in a parliamentary system where laws must be adopted by an absolute majority.
For Together!, the two scenarios are still possible, since the second round of the legislative elections should offer them between 255 and 295 seats. The absolute majority being 289, the most probable hypothesis remains, to date, that the presidential camp must be satisfied with a relative majority. And if Emmanuel Macron would avoid the humiliation of having to appoint Jean-Luc Mélenchon to Matignon, he would be forced to play diplomats in order to convince certain opposition deputies of the benefits of his project. “If the presidential camp obtains a relative majority, it will be necessary to be attentive to the number of seats missing to reach the absolute majority”, explains for L’Express Bruno Cautrès, researcher at CNRS and Cevipof. “Below ten, he will easily find the necessary allies to make the count. Above twenty, the task looks much more complicated”.
If he needed others, who could Emmanuel Macron turn to? “I do not imagine deputies elected under the Nupes label serving as an auxiliary force for the presidential majority. Presumably, Emmanuel Macron will turn to Les Républicains”, notes the political scientist. In favor of extending the legal retirement age to 65, the LR deputies could therefore constitute the missing votes within the majority. But nothing is less certain. Anxious to exist on their own, the party led by Christian Jacob could also form a real opposition force, and if it is no longer the first, as was the case in 2017, it would be even the second. “If they manage to have a significant number of deputies, the elected LRs will demand guarantees before cooperating, such as highlighting the subjects that are important to them,” said Bruno Cautrès.
The gap between tranquility and anxiety therefore seems to be played out in a few seats, not to mention that another datum, of a symbolic order, could also displease the President of the Republic. Edouard Philippe’s party, Horizons, should be able to form a group in the National Assembly. Without sitting himself, the current mayor of Le Havre could advance his pawns for the presidential election of 2027. “Edouard Philippe will not cause problems for the presidential majority but Emmanuel Macron will not be able to erase the credit of opinion available to his former Prime Minister”, observes Bruno Cautrès.
Finding compromises with the LRs, sparing the elected Horizons, obtaining a simple relative majority would pose many problems for the Head of State. Especially since the use of article 49-3, which allows the government to pass a text without submitting it to a vote, has been severely limited since the 2008 reform on the modernization of institutions. Above all, according to Bruno Cautrès, “it is no longer at all suited to today’s France, marked by the movement of yellow vests and a deep democratic crisis”. In 1988, François Mitterrand, then just re-elected president, had only had a relative majority in the Assembly and had used 49-3 28 times to carry out his policy. It was a long time ago, but another, however more recent, is also on the way to disappearing. The one where Emmanuel Macron did not need anyone to govern.