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The fragmentation of French politics

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At the same time, 35 kilometers away, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of the radical left party La France insoumise, is organizing a big event in front of his supporters.

The day before, the activists of the Republican party, of the classic right, chose their standard bearer for the April election: Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region.

It goes without saying that the weekend is auspicious for analysts and observers of the French political scene … especially since the politicians mentioned above only represent a handful of aspiring presidents who are on the starting line.

The left is fractured between the Socialist Party, environmentalists and rebellious France.

Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo and environmental candidate Yannick Jadot.

Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo and environmental candidate Yannick Jadot.

Photo: pool / afp via getty images / THOMAS SAMSON

On the far right, the candidate of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, must now deal with the presence of Eric Zemmour, who tries to attract some of his voters by emphasizing the themes of immigration and identity.

The polemicist, now a candidate, does not hide his desire to also seduce voters of the classic right. An electorate also courted by outgoing President Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in a socialist government which launched his own centrist party.

In the first round of voting, on April 10, the two candidates who obtain the best score will qualify for the second round.

However, according to Mathieu Gallard, research director in the public affairs department of Ipsos, the high number of suitors, perhaps even at levels unreleased , makes this duel of the second round very unpredictable.

The bar to qualify for the second round is much lower. You only have Emmanuel Macron who is at a level above 20%. So a lot of candidates can say yes, I have a chance to qualify.

A quote from Mathieu Gallard, research director at Ipsos

Towards a new political landscape

It’s been a lot of elections that we see that many French people hesitate, launches Mathieu Gallard, who observes a redefinition of the French political landscape.

The phenomenon accelerated with the election that brought Emmanuel Macron to power five years ago.

French President Emmanuel Macron and the President of the Île-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse.

Emmanuel Macron and Valérie Pécresse will face each other in the first round of the presidential elections.

Photo: pool / afp via getty images / LUDOVIC MARIN

In 2017, the vote of the then ruling Socialist Left Party collapsed. On the right, scandals hurt the Republican candidate, who failed to qualify in the second round.

The context allowed the centrist Emmanuel Macron, who wanted to break the left-right axis, to climb to the second round, during which he faced Marine Le Pen of the National Front [maintenant Rassemblement national].

He [Emmanuel Macron] had to create a new world. But this new world, this recomposition did not happen, notes Bruno Jeudy, editor-in-chief of the magazine Paris Match.

The analyst underlines that despite very low hopes at the national level, the Socialist Party retains anchors at the regional level. The classic right, which seems healthier despite certain internal divisions, is also still very present in the political landscape, whether it is the presidency of regions, the National Assembly or the Senate.

The teams of the two finalists of the second round of 2017, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, have not managed to establish themselves as strongly as they wanted in recent years.

Marine Le Pen, candidate for the National Rally.

Qualified in the second round of the 2017 presidential election, Marine Le Pen will again be a candidate for the National Rally in 2022.

Photo: dpa via getty images / JULIEN DE ROSA

The National Rally had disappointing performance in the last regional elections in June 2021. Despite its ambitions, the formation of Marine Le Pen failed to win the presidency of any region of the country.

The result was even more severe for La République En Marche, the party founded by Emmanuel Macron, which leads the majority in the Assembly, but which is struggling to win across the country. The center only obtained 10% in this regional election in June.

Result: rather than a real renewal, the French have witnessed a multiplication of the political offer.

It takes time. We did not see the political recomposition that was to come behind this decomposition.

A quote from Bruno Jeudy, editor-in-chief of Paris Match

Abstention, the other candidate in the election?

Journalist Bruno Jeudy recalls that 20 years ago, French voters also had to make a choice through a multitude of aspiring presidents. In 2002, seven candidates obtained more than 5% of the votes in the first round.

It was during this election, in which the left was divided, that the National Front, then led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, succeeded in qualifying for the second round for the first time in its history.

This second ballot, won by outgoing President Jacques Chirac, was also marked by a high abstention rate, of just over 20%.

dissatisfaction with politicians to justify their choice. For 23%, abstention was explained by lack of preference for a list or candidate.

Mathieu Gallard, from Ipsos.

According to Mathieu Gallard, from Ipsos, a large number of voters are still not interested in the campaign, about four months before the poll.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair.

Obviously, the context of a presidential election is different from that of a regional election. Despite everything, the pollster Mathieu Gallard notes for the moment a weak interest in the campaign, with nearly four months of the first round.

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