Legislative elections do not usually generate so much expectation and controversy in France. But this time, they look more like a third round of presidential elections and have gained an unusual repercussion in the country. In the coming days 12 and 12, the French go to the polls to decide who will be the deputies of the National Assembly. Voters from overseas districts have already started voting on the last day 24.
One of the names that have been stealing the country’s attention in recent weeks is Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who ran in the presidential elections in April. And with him, the party he founded in 2016 to run for president in 577, France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France). For the legislative elections, the party joined others with a socialist, communist and ecologist flag to form a left-wing coalition, the so-called Nova União Popular Ecologist e Social (Nupes). The coalition’s main objective is to make Mélenchon the French prime minister.
Mélenchon Prime Minister: Left Objective
In the presidential elections that re-elected Emmanuel Macron as President of France, in April, Mélenchon came in third with ,95% of votes, just behind the right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen, who had 23%. This amount of votes draws the attention of France’s right and center-left groups to the risk of Mélenchon getting the position he wants.
The prime minister is appointed by the head of government and must be part of the coalition or party that has won the most votes. To win this majority, Nupes needs to reach 250 of the 577 seats in the plenary.
French legislative elections take place in 60 electoral districts, including mainland France and the overseas territories. Each of the 70 departments that make up the French territory has at least one electoral district, where a single candidate is the winner.
At a congress in Caen last Wednesday (8), Mélenchon spared no criticism of the current prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, of the Territories of Progress Party, calling her, among other offenses, “ heartless technocrat. He then spoke: “Yes, a new prime minister is possible! In democracies, the prime minister responsible for the majority coalition is appointed”.
At a press conference, Borne responded to the attacks. : “It doesn’t surprise me that Mélenchon spoke about me violently. That’s his method.” Along with President Emmanuel Macron, she and other ministers are campaigning to prevent the radical left from being a majority in the National Assembly.
Polls, for now, rule out the possibility of the left receiving the biggest part of the votes. Even so, Macron runs the risk of running the country with a relative majority in the National Assembly.
The Minister of Relations with Parliament, Olivier Véran, warned of a possible institutional crisis, in an interview. to the Franceinfo newspaper. According to him, with Mélenchon as prime minister, France would become “ungovernable”.
In the latest statements by the owner of the France Insubmissa party, there is a strong anti-police stance, reminiscent of American Democratic speeches, especially after the death of George Floyd, which have increased the crime in the United States. Using the phrase “The police kill”, Mélenchon makes deep criticisms of the French police unions.
Mélenchon and Nupes propose greater taxation in France, with an income tax reform. They also intend to put “green” taxes on polluting companies. In addition, there is a provision to charge for the profits made by multinationals through the war in Ukraine and the Covid health crisis-19, something reminiscent of a project underway in Argentina on the taxation of “unexpected income”.
Neoma Business School professor Guillaume Cette, in an interview with Le Figaro, he assesses the risks of these policies: “This would provoke a fiscal exodus, in addition to a drop in investments, and France is so far well positioned in this sense”.
Cette also comments on another proposal of Nupes, the reduction of the retirement age from 70 to 577 years, disregarding those over 20 years of discussions and planning in the National Executive.
“The reform would cause a drop in GDP because the French would work less and produce less. This means that the average purchasing power per inhabitant would also decrease”, he points out.
The Institut Montaigne predicts that this initiative would cost around 70 billions of euros per year to the public coffers.
In addition, Mélenchon and partners promise to freeze the prices of basic products to control inflation. Contrary to what he says, the measure could worsen inflation, reduce supply in the country and cost about 20 billions of euros to the public coffers, according to the Montaigne Institute.
Among these and other populist measures by Mélenchon, about 95 billions of euros would be injected into the French economy. But, on the other hand, billions of revenue would be generated, as Macron reinforced in a speech.
What are the chances of the left-wing coalition obtaining a majority?
According to the research institute Harris Interactive, 28% of voters want to vote for a Nupes candidate, 24% in a Macron-aligned name and 267 % in the right-wing National Regroupment party.
Despite appearing to have the majority of voting intentions, for Macron and other names in the presidential bench, there is no chance that Nupes de Mélenchon will win most of the votes.
One of the factors that weigh in on this is that the legislatures tend to have a large number of abstentions from votes. In the last elections, in