2022 French legislative elections

Article

July 5, 2022

The French legislative elections of 2022 take place on June 12 and 19, 2022 in order to elect the 577 deputies of the XVIth legislature of the Fifth Republic. These legislative elections follow the presidential election organized in April 2022, the second round of which saw outgoing President Emmanuel Macron elected for a second term against Marine Le Pen of the National Rally (RN), while Jean -Luc Mélenchon, candidate of La France insoumise (LFI), finished in third place. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, during the between-two-rounds, calls on the French to "elect him Prime Minister" and calls for cohabitation. In the weeks that followed, he initiated the creation of the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPES) bringing together LFI and the other left-wing parties: the Socialist Party, Europe Écologie Les Verts and the French Communist Party. The various parties of the majority (La République en Marche, the MoDem, Agir and Horizons) also come together in a coalition called Together. Beyond these two actors, Les Républicains and the RN can also hope to achieve notable performances. The first round was marked by a record abstention of 52.5%, and by a near tie between NUPES and Ensemble. The second round was marked by an abstention of 53.8%, however less than that of 2017. Together remains the main force in the National Assembly with 245 seats, but largely loses its absolute majority. The NUPES obtained 131 to 150 seats — depending, among other things, on whether or not overseas deputies were counted — doubling its representation, in particular thanks to the results obtained in the metropolises. The surprise comes from the RN which, despite a voting system historically unfavorable to the far right, made an electoral breakthrough with 89 deputies, an increase of 81 seats, particularly in the rural departments. With 64 seats, LR loses half of its representation and becomes the 3rd force of the opposition, with a potential role of arbiter. The UDI almost completely disappears with only 3 seats. For the first time since the legislative elections of 1988, the elected president only has a relative majority in the wake of the presidential election. It is also the first time since the establishment of the five-year term in 2000. The XVIth legislature is thus one of the most fragmented of the Fifth Republic. This result is perceived by commentators as a disavowal for Emmanuel Macron and a risk of great political instability and institutional blockages, the various forces present being both very polarized and divided, limiting the possibilities of agreements between parties.

Background

Institutional Context

Since the beginning of the Fifth Republic, the legislative elections organized in the wake of the investiture of an elected president have always enabled the latter to have an absolute or relative majority in the National Assembly. This characteristic, known as the “majority fact”, is reinforced by the first-past-the-post system. Since the transition to a five-year presidential term in 2000 and the postponement of legislative elections after the presidential election, the coincidence of polls has become systematic. This change contributed to presidentializing the regime to the detriment of the legislative power. In addition, cohabitation is made more improbable since it implies that some voters reconsider their choice in the wake of the presidential election. In 2022, the gap between the presidential and the legislative elections is fifty days, fourteen days more than in the four previous terms, a gap deemed likely to increase the indecision of the ballot.

Outgoing Assembly and 2022 Presidential Election

At the end of the