INFOGRAPHIC – In a month, half of the seats in the Upper House will be renewed. Emmanuel Macron has little hope of obtaining a 3/5 majority in Parliament to be able to revise the Constitution.
It is a ballot with multiple unknowns for Emmanuel Macron. At first glance, the senatorial elections, which take place on September 24 and will renew half of the seats in the Palais du Luxembourg (170 of series 1 out of 348, and a partial one in Haute-Savoie), do not seem to him really favorable. The majority of 3/5 in Parliament (555 elected out of 925), necessary to pass the constitutional reforms, should escape the presidential party. In question, the absence of voters on whom La République en Marche (LREM) could rely to elect its candidates. “In 2014, the En Marche! was not present, ”recalls Jean-Paul Delevoye, chairman of the investiture commission of the Macronist party.
Except for the deputies elected in June, the majority party suffers from a significant deficit of local elected representatives in the territory. A group of 29 senators has already been formed – not without difficulty – at the beginning of the summer, but two thirds are renewable or leave the Senate. “The objective is to have a group of 45-50 senators”, advances François Patriat, president of the LREM group in the Upper House. An estimate already revised downwards compared to the first forecasts, which counted on 60 senators.
Because the presidential party must face several difficulties. One month before the elections, the list of candidates has still not been finalized. Only 52 applicants have already been announced. "We are still negotiating in the North, but the list is 99% complete," says Delevoye. The party is also betting on “Macron-compatible” senators, outside the LREM group, who would support government action in the future. “We must anticipate the openings announced. A burst is expected on the right after the congress of the Republicans in December”, wants to believe the former senator.
A fragile strategy that raises questions among some LREM executives. “We will need a strong and identified group at the start of the school year with the vote on the budget and the ordinances. Those who support the presidential majority risk rediscovering their old reflexes,” fears one of them.
Another black spot: the various government announcements (lower credits to local authorities, abolition of the housing tax, end of subsidized jobs) which may have cooled certain major voters. “There is a pedagogical effort to be made, but the LRs and the PS will not hesitate to tap on the drop in endowments”, fears François Patriat.
And for good reason. If the Republicans (LR) were worried that pro-Macron elected officials could win the 3/5 majority in Parliament, the summer seems to have reassured them. "Emmanuel Macron and Édouard Philippe's game is to take the Senate, but it's not that simple!", smiles an LR senator. “The atmosphere has clearly changed,” rejoices Bruno Retailleau, president of the LR group in the Senate, where the majority right holds 186 of the 348 seats. “France has been under Macronian hypnosis, but after half a dozen executive announcements made against communities, elected officials are exasperated.”
A statement shared by many parliamentarians on the right. “Given the latest government events, the cocktail is complicated to swallow for local elected officials! Mechanically, it weakens the macronist candidates, who in any case rather take the left, ”analyzes an elected LR. The President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, candidate for his succession, shows itself in this context of "cautious optimism". The LRs intend to hammer home the idea that this ballot marks, in any case, "the beginning of the reconquest".
At the PS, a period of withdrawal
At the Socialist Party, we especially hope to save the furniture, while the troops are dwindling as defections to LREM. Candidates in the campaign also exchange with "exceeded elected officials". “The fact of putting Macron's face on the profession of faith, this time, will not be enough. I do not want to say that the measures announced suit us, but in any case they clearly dissociate us from LREM ”, underlines the ex-minister Patrick Kanner, head of the PS list in the North. The current socialist group, made up of 86 senators, could be reduced to around sixty, according to some of them. "We are living in a period of withdrawal anyway, and even if local elected officials express concern about Emmanuel Macron's announcements, it can benefit the right...", grumbles a socialist senator, candidate for re-election.
At the National Front, we approach the senatorial elections with the hope of seeing the confirmation of a breakthrough recorded among the great voters in 2014. The party had managed to win two seats, in the wake of the municipal elections. David Rachline and Stéphane Ravier had thus celebrated the historic entry of the FN into the Senate. This time, the frontists have planned to present candidates everywhere, but, for this election, they have few illusions about their chances of having new senators elected because the departments concerned in 2017 are less favorable than in 2014. On the other hand, this first post-presidential election will allow the FN to assess its local roots, with the hope of recording increases in the number of votes, especially among the electors of rural areas. The two FN senators, David Rachline, mayor of Fréjus, and Stéphane Ravier, mayor of the XNUMXth sector of Marseille, will have to comply with the law prohibiting the plurality of mandates. The first should choose to keep his post at the town hall of Fréjus. As for the second, he would favor his seat in the Senate.
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Source: © Le Figaro Premium – The senatorial elections, an uphill battle for Macron and his majority