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Elections in France: on the hunt for voters, with a harsh exchange of accusations between the government and the opposition

Twenty-five million French people will have to come out of abstention to decide on the ballotage of the legislative elections French on Sunday the fate of Ensemble, Emmanuel Macron’s party, or the far-left Nupes alliance, formed by Jean Luc Mélenchon, to proclaim himself prime minister. Four days left to convince them.

The record abstention rate will resolve whether “the old politics is dead”, as Macron promoted, or if it has returned at all rebirth and he can get a majority in the National Assembly and force him to cohabit with the ultra-left, at the hands of Mélenchon, a radicalized socialist former minister of education.

The campaign for the ballotage has been relaunched in France. They must break this deadlock equation: the coalition of Macron won with 25.75 percent of the votes against Mélenchon’s alliance, with 25.66 percent in the first round.

“I invited the people to arise”, intimated Jean Luc Mélenchon, known as the “tribune of the republic”. “This is the moment that you have full powers to change everything. If you don’t want to know anything more about Macron, if it’s a referendum on his politics, there’s only one thing to do: vote for us”, he intimated.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, at an event in Toulouse. AFP Photo

cross accusations

President Macron’s centrist coalition accused his left-wing opponents of “liars and anarchists”when a frantic attempt to gain a majority in parliamentary elections began.

The New Popular Social and Ecological Union (NUPES), an alliance of left-wing parties, responded by saying that Macron’s ministers they had manipulated the result of the first round Sunday’s poll, to make it look like they had won the popular vote when they had lost it.

Ensemble, Macron’s coalition, is set to win most seats in Sunday’s second round, according to the surveys. But it is possible that they will not reach an absolute majority. Insults flew, after Ensemble came out of the first round neck-and-neck with the left-wing alliance NUPES, led by 70-year-old Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Mélenchon accused the interior minister of manipulating the figures for the first round. “They have done all that to create an illusion”said Mélenchon, who is campaigning to be appointed prime minister if the left wins the parliamentary elections. “We cannot have the customs of a banana republic,” he insisted.

The campaign in the streets of Paris.  Photo Bloomberg

The campaign in the streets of Paris. Photo Bloomberg

The vehemence of the attacks was a measure of how much is at stake on both sides ahead of Sunday’s second round.

Who will have the majority?

Macron, 44, he seemed to have the world at his feet after winning a second term, when she defeated Marine Le Pen, 53, the right-wing populist, in the second round of April’s presidential election.

However, his poor and late performance in the first round of parliamentary elections means that his party no longer sure of winning all 289 seats, you need to get an absolute majority in the National Assembly. The lack of a majority could force the president to negotiate with rival parties to push through the legislation.

By contrast, Mélenchon, an anti-NATO populist often compared to Jeremy Corbyn and Cristina Kirchner, who admires Chávez and speaks Spanish with a Sevillian accenthas enjoyed a revival in his fortunes, after being narrowly eliminated in the first round of April’s presidential election.

It formed a coalition with other leftist parties, that has transformed the French political scene, to offer you a platform from which to expose a program that includes freezing the price of essential goods and imposing a 100 per cent tax rate on inheritances over 12 million euros.

With his old and clever tricks of an experienced politician, he has generated a third presidential round and wants Macron to appoint him premierif he gets a majority in the National Assembly.

Polling institutes say Mélenchon’s alliance is unlikely to win a parliamentary majority. But it can win enough seats to tie Macron’s hands.

They benefit Le Pen

Macron’s ministers responded with fierce attacks on Mélenchon and his allies. Amélie de Montchalin, 56, the ecology minister, said that they were “extreme left anarchists”who wanted to “weaken our institutions.”

Stanislaus Guérini, 40, minister for the transformation of the civil service, declared: “His project consists only of tax increases.”

However, ministers found themselves defensive of claims that, in their efforts to remove the threat from the left, the macronistas were “opening the door” to the populist right. The accusations were explosive, as Macron has tried to present himself as a barrier, protecting France against the rise of populism in Europe.

The dispute arose after several ministers suggested that Mélenchon’s alliance was as dangerous as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and called on voters to avoid endorsing either. Gabriel Attal, 33, the budget minister, said that both Mélenchon and Le Pen were “anti-Europeans and promoters of economic policies that would ruin the country”.

The stance sparked fury in the Mélenchon camp, which noted that left-wing voters had leaned behind Macron in his presidential election duel with Le Pen. They were the “Neither” (neither one nor the other) of Mélenchon those who made Macron president in the presidential ballotage.

“Emmanuel Macron called on us to defeat the extreme right while pointing out the dangers it represented for the country. That is what we did,” said Bruno Bernard, 51, head of the Greater Lyon council in central France, who is a Mélenchon supporter. “And now those close to Emmanuel Macron himself are opening the door to the extreme right. It is irresponsible, incomprehensible”.

Macron’s ministers seemed unsure how to respond to the criticism, which was focused on 58 constituencies where National Regroupment contenders will face left-wing candidates in the second round. They initially suggested that voters should abstain.

in this ballot Marine le Pen can grow strong and carry from seven to 40 benchesplacing behind conservative Republicans.

The future of Nupes

If you do not get the relative majority, NUPES can disintegrate because it is more than anything an electoral machine. Socialists, Greens, Communists, Socialists, and Unruly France have their own fiefdoms.

The NUPES campaign is old style: door to door in the suburbs of Paris, text messages, social networks and young people. Those are your main goals. The youth love “Mélancho”, as they call him, although they detest the old politics. But he must get those who did not go to the polls to vote: those between 18 and 34 years old.

Mélenchon is in his sauce campaigning door to door. He uses republican oratory, convinces the youth and the communists, is gestural, persuasive and knows how to listen. “Matignon is not far. He depends on you”, he tells the constituents. A difficult opponent for macronists, so antiseptic and post-modern.

If the extreme right advances, a group of moderate socialists, such as the supporters of former President François Hollande, who have more in common with the Social Democrat Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne than with the abrasive former Socialist Mélenchon, They will probably support her reforms on the premises and let her govern.

Macron does not want to get personally involved in the campaign. He will travel this week to kyiv with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and will visit Moldova and Romania, with his eyes on the war.

PB

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