Macron evaluates getting fully involved in the Europeans and avoiding disaster

In the Elysée, they are very worried about the prospect, indicated by all the polls, of a catastrophic result for the government list in the European elections on June 9.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
13 May 2024 Monday 05:25
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Macron evaluates getting fully involved in the Europeans and avoiding disaster

In the Elysée, they are very worried about the prospect, indicated by all the polls, of a catastrophic result for the government list in the European elections on June 9. According to the newspaper La Tribune Dimanche, close to Emmanuel Macron, the French president "is tempted" to challenge Marine Le Pen to a televised debate to try to stop the push of the extreme right, clear favorite in the elections.

The polls predict a resounding triumph for the National Reunification (RN), which could get 31% of the vote, compared to a paltry 17% of the list headed by Valérie Hayer, the candidate of the Macronist party, Renaissance, and its allies. It is also the case that Hayer is threatened in second place by the list of the Socialist Party/Plaça Pública, of the essayist, which exceeds 13% and with a tendency to rise.

If these bleak forecasts for Macron's candidate were confirmed, the president would be even more politically weakened during the remainder of his second term, which expires in May 2027. The head of state already lost a lot of capital when he was re-elected , since theirs no longer had an absolute majority in the National Assembly. Since then, governing has been a painful exercise, full of difficulties.

A face-to-face with Le Pen, who already faced Macron in the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections, would give the latter the opportunity to show voters the contradictions of the extreme right and the weakness of its populist message. However, the bet would have risks, since it would be interpreted as a desperate resort of a president in serious conflicts. If, despite everything, the RN wins with a large advantage, the humiliation for Macron will be greater.

There is the historical example of the socialist François Mitterrand, who debated with the conservative Philippe Séguin on September 3, 1992, before the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty. Mitterrand's initiative paid dividends in the outcome of the consultation. It also worked, in 2009, for the right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy when he became fully involved in the Europeans. His party won a comfortable victory.

Yes, it is certain that there will be a debate, on May 23, between the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, and the head of the RN list and president of the party, Jordan Bardella. Both are very young. The prime minister is 35 years old. The leader of the extreme right, 28. They share dialectical skill and telegeny. If this debate were followed by another between Macron and Le Pen, the dynamics of the campaign would undergo a turn.

The speculation in the French press is not limited to this hypothetical Macron-Le Pen duel. The newspaper Le Parisien echoed yesterday the reflection in the Elysée, among the advisers, on the strategy after the Europeans, giving as a matter of course that the result will be a hard blow. One of the alternatives that has been studied for some time would be to dissolve the National Assembly and call elections in September, after the Olympic Games in Paris. Nothing would ensure, however, that the Macronists regain ground. It could also be that the Government fell due to a right-wing censure motion. All scenarios are complex for the president.