Between two parties, one falls to the ground?
István Pócza |
Ágnes Zsófia Magyar
The effect of the French municipal elections in 2022
The second round of the municipal elections, postponed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, wrapped France in green with the gains of the Ecologist Party – a possible ally for the Socialist Party for the 2022 presidential election, aiming to win the second round even without Emmanuel Macron. But who will stand on the other side? Marine Le Pen, or possibly her niece, Marion Maréchal, who has been building up her right-wing circles of intellectual capital for years? Will a new conservative right emerge with the cooperation of republicans, or will the party disappear for good after taking the greatest blow ever since 1979 – the first election of the Union – at last year’s elections to the European Parliament?
Although the second round of the municipal elections took place with extremely low participation over a month ago, the processes it triggered may thoroughly transform French domestic policy, in turn effecting the presidential election of 2022.
The election was a definite Green breakthrough. At first glance, this may seem favorable for Emmanuel Macron, but if we take a look at the results and the processes deep down, we can discover some surprises. At present, the Greens and the Socialists are becoming more and more active in drawing near. Upon seeing the Green-Socialist success in large cities, the secretary general of the Socialist Party declared a willingness on the part of the party to stand behind a Green presidential candidate. This may transform the political palette a great deal because that would mean an opponent for Emmanuel Macron right on his side from the Greens. Several of Macron’s policies coincides with those of the Greens, but the majority of them have not been feasible due to political opposition. In the spring of 2022, in case the Ecologist Party finds the right button to the coat, Macron might have to fight hard to make it to the second round of the presidential election at all, and not have it be a fight between the Greens and the radical right only.
Surveys indicate that the Socialist Party no longer conveys classical left-wing values, and the majority of French people believe that the party no longer benefits French politics. For them, the only way to survive is to team up with the Greens. Results of the municipal elections already foreshadowed the success of such a combination. This seems to squeeze out Emmanuel Macron from the left, while the Le Pen party may push him into a vacuum from the right. The only solution for him seems to be this: winning part of the right-wing camp. The republican side tries to cover that, with vanishing support for now. However, Macron will definitely need votes coming from there...
Ágnes Zsófia MAGYAR, senior research fellow István PÓCZA, director of research