Gaullist reflections do not lose validity in France: “Moi ou le chaos” (me or chaos). There are doubts as to whether the general ever uttered this phrase, but it hardly matters. History took credit for it. And that was, certainly, his underlying attitude, the same one that Emmanuel Macron now adopts before the legislative elections tomorrow and on the 19th.
The current French president presents himself as the guarantor of stability in the face of the threat of "disorder", internal and international, which would generate, in his opinion, a victory for "the extremes", for the radical left led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and for the extreme right of Marine Le Pen.
Macron has made a late campaign, of low intensity. He only hit the gas at the end because he saw the ears of the wolf. Several polls raise the possibility of a very close victory, in the first round, of the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes), a political artifact in which Mélenchon's party, La Francia Insumisa (LFI) enjoys a dominant position. . As minor partners are Europe Ecology-The Greens, the battered Socialist Party (PS) and the old Communist Party (PCF).
For the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, the radical, populist left with anti-system outbursts has the upper hand against the so-called “government left”, the most realistic, pragmatic and with experience of power. The moderates – read the PS and a section of the Greens – have agreed to play along with Mélenchon out of sheer short-term survival instinct, to maintain a presence in the National Assembly.
In his last trips – to the southern department of Tarn and to Seine-Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris – Macron threw darts at Mélenchon and Le Pen, although hardly naming them. The president warned that “there is no magic money” – an allusion to the wasteful economic program of the left – and that, in international politics, his main rivals would sow “disorder” and facilitate “submission” (to Russia). "Nothing would be more dangerous than adding to the world disorder a French disorder proposed by extremes," said the head of state.
Macron stressed that he needs "a strong and clear majority" in the National Assembly. However, anticipating that he may not have it, he also promised consensus, what he calls "a new method", different from the verticality practiced during the first term. The president, who met yesterday with the leaders of the unions, has taken out of his hat the idea of creating a "national refoundation council", a kind of forum in which they would have a place, in addition to parliamentarians, mayors, unions, businessmen and even randomly chosen citizens. Its function would be to agree on major national policies. The proposal, still very vague, has been received with considerable skepticism about its practical usefulness.
If Macron had to face Le Pen in the presidential elections in April, in the legislative elections the danger is called Mélenchon. The union of the lefts and the charisma of Mélenchon have placed Nupes in a very favorable situation in the first round. Being first in percentage of votes would already be a very important moral victory, although in the second round that does not translate into a majority of seats. According to the same polls that point to the victory of the left on Sunday, it will be the macronistas who reach, by far, the first place in seats in the second round, thanks to the majority electoral system.
To mobilize voters, tempted by an abstention that could be record high, very serious warnings are issued from the government side about the effect of an eventual leftist majority in the Assembly, a remote possibility but not totally ruled out if there were a confluence of votes protest and anti-Macron. The Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, described Mélenchon as a “Gallic Chávez” and drew a nightmare scenario if his government program were to be applied. France would end up like Venezuela, Argentina or the Greece of Tsipras, attacked by the markets and little less than ruined.