The tsunami of the presidential election
The presidential election has not yet taken place. It is already a tsunami that is disrupting the political landscape. Notably the so-called parties of government. And it’s not over…
The self-destruction of the Socialist Party.
It is not only due to the lack of results of the policy followed during his tenure by François Hollande. The coincidence of the five-year term of office of the President of the Republic and the deputies, willed by Lionel Jospin, trapped Francois Hollande. The presidential septennat would have allowed him to continue presiding like François Mitterrand in a possible cohabitation of two years which would perhaps have allowed him to reconstitute his popularity and to run for a new term.
His failure to reduce unemployment, particularly among young people, the priority of his five-year term, his low popularity in polls and the pressure of ambitious friends led him not to stand for re-election.
By excessive optimism, he waited for the last moment to make his decision. What had François Mitterrand done to get rid of his possible competitors and especially Michel Rocard. But, applying the same tactic, to pronounce as late as possible but by renouncing, it contributed to delay, exaggeratedly, the primary of the socialist party and its allies. It prevented serious preparation, at the team, program, material … level of the candidates for his succession.
This is particularly visible in the unpreparedness of Benoît Hamon who is obliged to adjust, in a few weeks, his program after flamboyant advertisements but insufficiently elaborated.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon announced very early and his candidacy had more than one year to collectively develop his program and the means of his campaign.
During the late primary of the PS and its allies, Manuel Valls, prime minister who believed himself the legitimate pretender to the presidential post, followed his president in popular desamor. And suffered a terrible failure.
In a primary reserved for socialist members, François Hollande and Manuel Valls had a chance, according to polls. Primary being open, many left-wing voters of 2012 disappointed by François Hollande and his influential prime minister moved to eliminate Manuel Valls even though they thought not to vote for the winner of this primary, during the presidential ballot.
Beyond the promises and the oaths of pre-electoral intoxication, it is clear that Benoît Hamon’s opposition to the government could only lead to opposition from many ministers to his candidacy. Faced with the party’s indiscipline of Benoît Hamon, in his support for the Valls government and its critics, the indiscipline in the support and criticism of many ministers to his candidature is not surprising. They could hardly flagellate themselves by Benoît Hamon interposed!
Thus Benoît Hamon finds himself abandoned on his right by those to whom he opposed when they were in government and, on his left, by those who supported him, only to eliminate Manuel Valls.
There is no doubt that this primary, elimination for the President of the Republic, for the former prime minister and other former ministers, will be the subject of many reflections to the maintained PS whatever it is. After its triumphant adoption in 2012 and its less glorious new edition in 2017, it is not certain that a similar primary will be organized in 2022 …
The results of this primary have touched, by ricochet, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He thought he had Francois Hollande or Manuel Valls as his opponent. The designation of Benoît Hamon, by all but Manuel Valls, with the participation of some of his supporters, disrupted his campaign and probably lost a few points.
The right in the turmoil
After the success of the socialist primary of 2012, the right has resumed the method. Again with unexpected results. First the elimination in the first round of the former president of the Republic and some former ministers. With the help of some left-wing voters who brought their newsletter to Alain Juppé and donated it to François Fillon. Clearly, political billiards is a difficult art.
But the story was not over and, in the second round, a former prime minister, already condemned by the judiciary but a favorite of the left, the center and the political whole, was dryly eliminated by the severe, serious, former collaborator of Nicolas Sarkozy, supported by the Catholic right. Finally a notable honest, investigated, with multiple contradictory and inaccurate statements, is proposed to succeed a defendant who had shocked the good society by its flimsy side. To drive, without states of mind, a truly right-wing policy.
With some disturbances among his supporters. But by his Christian repentance and his diabolical perseverance, Francois Fillon knew how to turn the situation around. If he did not have the large avenue, open to the Elysee, which was promised to him, he always remains in the race. He managed to be the candidate, perhaps unloved, of a hard right. Whatever the result of the election, the Fillon adventure, the Fillon adventures, will weigh on the future of the right.
Other changes are taking place in the political landscape.
Commentators have reiterated for years that the French electoral system, notably the uninominal ballot for two presidential and legislative elections, structured the electoral deadlines and blocked the emergence of any other political offer.
However, in other Western democracies, whatever the method of voting, with or without a presidential election, the situation is very different: Labor / Conservatives in the United Kingdom, CDU-CSU / SPD in Germany, Democrats / Republicans in the United States…
Paradoxically, some time ago, France, escaping this scheme, moved from the bipartisan to the tripartism PS, LR and … FN. Except to take again the speech of the FN, UMPS / FN. What would be more applicable to Germany with a Grand Coalition, CDU-SPD which has not yet fostered the emergence of a third credible force, neither liberal nor green, nor extreme right, nor extreme left.
Finally, who can say today what configuration will settle in France with the appearance, in addition to the FN, LR and PS, En-Marche and The Unbridled France?
Everything depends not only on the presidential election that will appoint two competitors at the end of the first round and only one president. But also of the legislative elections which will renew very strongly the composition of the National Assembly. With a large dispersion of candidates, at the risk of a Assembly without majority. Dispersion of the right and the center, dispersion of the PS, dispersion of Left of Left, unknown of En-Marche.
This renewal of the political staff during the legislative elections will be accentuated by the effects of the law on the non-cumulation of the mandates. Many deputy mayors will choose to retain their local mandate by sacrificing a deputy mandate that has become uncertain for many leavers.
To conclude on an optimistic note, one can hope that a rejuvenation and a feminization of the National Assembly will emerge. With an additional degree of optimism, parliamentarians who, knowing the anti-corruption legislation and feeling the diligence of judges, will be more scrupulous in the use of tax dollars. For this, the voters have a role to play: penalize the charged candidates. It would be a tsunami in the tsunami!