At the moment, the real winner of the European elections in France is the abstention. Traditionally, those elections fail to attract a large panel of electors and only see the most proactive citizens vote. The result is a polarization of the electorate, with on one side the pro-EU almost federalist voters and on the other populists against the Government. This should be once again the case with only 41% of people saying they intend to vote.
According to the latest poll LaREM and far-right party RN (EFDD group) are still ahead in the run-off to European elections, with respectively 24,5% and 21.5% of intention votes respectively. Following the two frontrunners, LR (EPP group), far behind with 14% of intention votes when all other lists are below 10%.
The focus is on the immigration issue, which is a godsend for far-right-parties. Trying to attract as many audiences as possible, the media are betting on this issue to be at the core of the debates. This was specially the case during the first debate that reunited all the head of lists. During the first part, and for almost two hours, the only issues tackled were immigrations and national sovereignty. Social and economic issues were merely discussed after midnight.
Nathalie Loiseau, LaREM head of list is clearly using the “us or the chaos” strategy trying to polarize the debate between progressists that she champions and populists that would according to her put the country and the EU in jeopardy. Ironically, it was made public in the press this week that while student in SciencesPo, she was on a far-right student union list for the elections of students’ representatives.
Welcomed with scepticism François Xavier Bellamy, Les Républicains (LR, center-right) head of list, has gained a momentum since the beginning of the campaign. Laurent Wauquiez’s (leader of LR) strategy to bet on a newcomer to represent the historical right party is stopping the historical conservative party collapse. Should the elections be less a failure than expected, Laurent Wauquiez will be in better posture to maintain his power and lead the 2020 Mayoral elections.
The left is still very fragmented, all below 10%, led by far-left La France Insoumise (9,5%) and the Greens (9%). The Parti Socialiste (PS) is still drowning despite the support of its new philosopher lifeguard coming from Raphael Glucksman who fails in creating a dynamic.