“During these legislative elections, the nation remembered that it was not a start-up”

FIGAROVOX/MAINTENANCE – to the editor of Political and parliamentary review, the result of the legislative elections shows the extent of the rejection of Emmanuel Macron. This gives a more representative picture of the country’s political state than the presidential one, he explains.

Arnaud Benedetti is an associate professor at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and editor-in-chief of the Political and Parliamentary Review. he published How did politicians die? – The great malaise of power (Cerf issues, November 2021).


FIGAROVOX. – While the presidential majority welcomed the historic re-election of the President of the Republic two months ago, the results of the legislative elections greatly mitigated this success. How do you see this chiaroscuro situation?

Arnaud BENEDETTI. – This is an unprecedented situation in the Fifth Republic; not only because the president does not have an absolute majority – this already happened in the past, in 1967 and 1988, but because the relative majority is a concept in relation to this very relative second round. It is more correct to say that on the night of the second round there is no clear majority, a hypothesis that we had foreseen in the Political and parliamentary review. At this point, the President of the Republic is an impeded President, calmed down if you prefer. He is the symbol of the acceleration of the regime’s crisis that ossified by its ambivalences. For the first time, the Fifth Republic failed to stabilize a political situation, it stopped absorbing shocks, it was even crushed by the political anomie that constituted the crisis of representation. It is an important fact of our democratic life that has just occurred.

Do you think the group “Together!” will it be able to build a governing coalition or that agreements will be made on a case-by-case basis on each bill?

This election unmasks the very artificial nature of the presidential election result; the country’s political reality is the result of these legislative elections, covered in abstention, which is synonymous with distrust of the ruling class, on the one hand, and the fragmentation of political offers, on the other. Macronism is not a majority fact. He’d managed to hide it so far; That is no longer the case today. Macron will have to compose, but the problem is that he cannot compose. This failure is obviously his, he faces all opposition from France and Navarre, who are now in a position to block him at the parliamentary level. De Gaulle’s institutions can no longer do anything for him. From this point of view, it is the first since 1958. For the first time under the Fifth Republic, the Head of State faces a majority that is not impossible to find, but impossible, except to wiggle like a president of the council of the IV Republic.

The French practiced a silent revolution, in the astronomical sense, a return to the foundations of the culture of parliamentary democracies against the culture of business.

Arnaud Benedetti

By an unusual “historical ruse”, the French knocked “Jupiter” off his pedestal, undermining his legitimacy just two months after his re-election and forcing him to do what he most abhors: the culture of needy bargaining that is the opposite of that. managerial, “anti-political” culture of which it is a child. In a way, the French practiced a silent revolution, in the astronomical sense, a return to the fundamentals of the culture of parliamentary democracies against the corporate culture. The nation, in its contradictions, remembered that it was a nation and not a start-up.

Does the hypothesis of a coalition with Les Républicains seem possible to you? Wouldn’t the party run the risk of being completely absorbed?

Christian Jacob clearly closed the door on that hypothesis Sunday night. Other leaders of the Republicans have neither the interest nor the vocation to be auxiliaries of an ocean liner damaged by the legislative iceberg. We must go beyond the electoral configuration of the night and consider first of all that inflation, the possible recession to come and debt will have social impacts that are probably more complex and more painful than we can imagine at this stage; we should also note that the crisis of representation of which this election is the result has not finished producing its effects. We can deduce from these two parameters that we are probably entering a regime crisis that is far from having given its full verdict.

So maybe there is a debate and a temptation among some LRs to join the majority. In addition to the fact that it would be a short-term issue unrelated to reality, such an alliance implies a change of majority leader. Macron’s defeat is indirectly that of his prime minister; Macron sold it as a “left”, he himself sold himself that way, Macron himself wanted to color his government team with the left by appointing a minister for National Education who brings him nothing politically. The search for a compromise with certain Republicans would involve cardinal readjustments and would raise the question of keeping Elisabeth Borne, heavily demonetized since Sunday night. The weakness of her personal victory in an almost defeated electorate underlines the engine blockage of the majority as a whole.

The RN puts Macron in front of his failure, he who since 2017 has made the reflux of this party the standard of his success.

Arnaud Benedetti

The National Rally obtains a higher number of deputies than expected and, for the first time with this method of voting, will have a group in the National Assembly. How do you interpret this result?

This is the main lesson for tonight. The progression of the RN is the logical consequence of its presidential dynamics. The Gordian knot of the voting system was spectacularly cut by the RN. It is the revenge of Marine Le Pen who, for her tactical skill, managed to circumvent the bronze of the unnominal majority vote in two rounds. This result can even be described as historic. The RN discreetly plays more or less toe-to-toe with rebel France and its noisy communication, is ahead of Les Républicains, is progressing geographically in a sustained manner, winning (what a symbol!) in the first constituency that elected a communist deputy, to Marmande in Lot-et-Garonne. The RN puts Macron in front of his failure, he who since 2017 has made the reflux of this party the standard of his success. Macron has so failed in his aim that he allows the RN to have an imposing parliamentary group, despite an unfavorable a priori voting system.

The united left within Nupes will also have a large group in the new National Assembly. In your opinion, will it manage to avoid internal divisions and establish itself as the first opposition group?

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is both a winner and a loser: a winner because he brings a strong left to parliament around his strategy. From this point of view, I take my hat off to the artist, who demonstrated his ability to not only create the event, but also deliver it! Undeniably, it allowed the disunited and initially weakened left to reconnect with its historical thread. That’s what makes a great leader. But the left, however, is contained and therefore partially defeated: first, in order to survive, it has abandoned many of its foundations both in the nation and in secularism; then, not being a majority, the temptation will be great for all these components, unified by the communicative and performative magic of melenconista neo-Guessism, to regain their autonomy and divide up again; finally she was a little robbed of the amazement of macronie’s failure by RN’s push.

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