This is a new record that could be beaten on Sunday June 12. A worrying record for democracy: that of abstention in the first round of legislative elections. According to the latest Ipsos Sopra-Steria survey for Cevipof, the Jean Jaurès Foundation and Le Monde published on Wednesday June 8, abstention could reach between 52% and 56% on Sunday, with an average point of 54%. A figure far beyond the 51.3% recorded on June 11, 2017, the previous record for a first round of legislative elections.

This convergent estimate with that of other polling institutes confirms that this election is struggling to interest the French. According to the Ipsos study, interest even fell by four points in three weeks (70% against 74%). This high abstention is not without consequence on the ballot: it will practically eliminate any possibility of a triangular vote and will therefore probably impose duels in all the constituencies. Indeed, to qualify for the second round, the candidates must collect at least 12.5% ​​of those registered on the electoral lists, and not of the voters. With an abstention of 50%, for example, the bar is thus placed at 25% of the votes cast to pass to the second round. In 2017, already, there was only one triangular, against 34 in 2012.

“It seems impossible to me to have a number of triangular higher than that of 2012 and I think that we are moving rather towards a total or almost total absence of triangular in the second round”, confirms with L’Express the political scientist Jean Peteaux. “With this situation, we will only have duels in the second round”, also bets Gérard Grunberg, emeritus research director at the CNRS and director of the Telos site.

Since the establishment of the five-year term in 2002 and the inversion of the electoral calendar – the presidential election is held just before the legislative elections and not the reverse, in order to give the President of the Republic a coherent majority in the National Assembly – the winner of the race at the Elysée has for the moment systematically obtained a majority to carry out his program. Enough to make the legislative elections ratifying the result of the presidential election.

“The French consider that since the president has been elected, the legislative elections do not have much importance. For many voters, the election stops at the presidential election”, notes Gérard Grunberg, who thus qualifies the legislative elections as “presidential election comet tail”. And all the more so since, as the researcher notes, voters disappointed that their candidate was defeated in the presidential election, like those of Marine Le Pen, could become demobilized and not go to the polls.

A low turnout, by favoring duels, could therefore benefit the outgoing majority grouped under the Together! banner, more likely to benefit from the “useful vote”, that is to say the votes of voters wishing to block another candidate. “We can estimate that the majority candidate will arrive in the first two, with a few exceptions”, predicts Jean Petaux, referring to the “fairly strong” expected mobilization of Emmanuel Macron’s electorate.

“Emmanuel Macron has sought to erase these legislative elections from the landscape”, deciphers the political scientist, who, not without pointing out the risk of leaving the field open to his opponents, sees it rather as a good political coup. Understand: less electoral stake = less participation = less triangular… therefore less risk for its candidates to be beaten in the second round.

The majority might not be the only ones to benefit from the expected absence of triangles. The left, which leaves this year united under the banner of Nupes with the aim of appointing Jean-Luc Mélenchon Prime Minister, could also benefit from it. “The fact that the left has united and that it can thus claim to have many elected members, or even why not, a relative or absolute majority in the National Assembly, is rather a factor in the mobilization or even over-mobilization of its electorate “, reports to AFP Jean-Yves Dormagen, professor of political science at the University of Montpellier and specialist in the question of abstention.

On the other hand, Les Républicains “should be the big losers” of these legislative elections, predicts Gérard Grunberg, even if the right-wing party should limit damage in a “small number of constituencies where they have known outgoing deputies”. LR will in any case not give voting instructions on the evening of the first round of the legislative elections if its candidates are not qualified, in the case of a duel between LREM and Nupes, assured Tuesday June 7 the president of the LR group in the Senate , Bruno Retailleau.

For Gérard Grunberg, one of the challenges of these legislative elections is also to know whether the voters of the far-right and Nupes candidates, in the constituencies where their candidates will be eliminated in the first round, will go to the polls or not. in the second round on June 19…and who they will vote for. “Will far-right voters go to vote for the majority candidates against Nupes? And will those from Nupes vote for the candidates of Ensemble! against the far right?” asks the specialist. According to Jean Petaux, if the anti-RN reflex “still worked” during the presidential election of 2022, it “will undoubtedly work less well” during the legislative elections. “Some voters might consider that if an RN candidate is elected to the Assembly, it will not change the fate of France”. Five years ago already, more than one in two voters (57.4%) shunned the ballot box during the second round of the legislative elections, a record since 1958. Emmanuel Macron and his new party En Marche then won 314 seats out of 577, to which were added 43 deputies from its ally the MoDem.