“Despite the political earthquake of legislative elections in 2022, the country remained paralyzed”

“Political leaders, helpless in the face of an accumulation of difficulties and tragedies, have (for a long time) preferred to avoid spectacle or over-communication.” François BOUCHON/Le Figaro

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – At the end of the year, the essayist compiles a political balance of the last twelve months. According to him, despite the euphoria of some French people over the results of the legislative elections, politicians continue to favor excessive communication over action.

Maxime Tandonnet, a keen follower of French political life and columnist for FigaroVox, published in particular. Andre Tardieu. Misunderstood (Perrin, 2019) and Georges Bidault: From the Resistance to French Algeria (Perrin, 2022).

The political novelty of 2022 was a shift from the traditional French focus of interest on presidential elections to (all relative) legislative elections. Indeed, on the eve of the first round of the “queen elections”, Ve In the republic, the outcome of a popular vote was rarely seen in advance: for five years, from 2017 to 2022, none of the thousands of polls predicted a result other than a second round between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. then the crushing victory of the latter. And for the second time in a row after Fillongate in 2017, the 2022 presidential election did not lead to a classic democratic meeting. After two years of the Covid-19 epidemic and in the middle of the war in Ukraine, which has choked all other subjects, the warlord Emmanuel Macron could not help being re-elected, even by default, with low support. 20% were registered in the first round.

As a result, after a largely neutralized presidential election, French interest is more than usual focused on the legislative elections on June 12 and 19, 2022. And for the first time V.e Voters in the republic refused to give the head of state a blank check to lead the country after being elected. With 245 seats, the “Joint” coalition of the presidential majority was far from an absolute majority of 289 seats, ahead of the leftist Nupes (131), the National Rally (89) and the Republicans (61). And this paradoxical result – the refusal to give confidence to the president reappointed to the Elysée – was welcomed by a large majority: 71% of the French expressed their approval (Elabe). However, the renewed focus on legislative elections was not enough to prevent a record abstention of 54%, a sign of citizens’ growing distrust of politics.

Six months later, did this little revolution, yes or no, have a beneficial effect on French political life?

Because 2022 was also the year of understanding the collapse of the country’s economic and social situation. Urban chaos, insecurity and the tragedies of illegal immigration have deeply affected public opinion. The announcement of a record trade deficit of €100 billion underscored the extent of deindustrialization. The Covid-19 epidemic has revealed the weakness of the healthcare system. A number of studies have put their finger on the impressive decline in school performance in both mathematics and French. A report by the Court of Auditors revealed that the public debt had increased by a staggering 560 billion in two years (including 140 billion related to the health crisis) and this was the result of a political choice: “whatever the cost”. In the context of inflation and impoverishment, one of the proven causes is the meteoric rise in the price of energy, with political leaders disdain for civilian nuclear power, destabilizing the French economy and society.

Thus, since the result of the 2022 legislative elections, the Grand Guignol politician has become worse.

Maxim Tandonnet

Powerless in the face of accumulating adversity and tragedy, political leaders (for a long time) prefer to avoid spectacle or over-communication. To the detriment of truth and action, they are largely confined to the theater stage, which focuses on developing their characters. This phenomenon explains the abundance of provocations or polemics designed to distract the French from the ongoing collapse. A presidential system that focuses on one character responsible for the “leading role” fits this logic. And so 2022 began with a thunderous statement from a president “I want to piss off the unvaccinated” stifling public debate about health policy implications; He continued with his appearance as a high-profile warlord in the Ukrainian war; then ended with him sulking on the soccer World Cup stage, a symbolic gesture of the fusion between politics and spectacle.

But six months after the legislative elections, it is clear that the French’s gesture of defiance against the head of state – the refusal of the absolute majority – did not allow to turn French politics from madness to the common good. Instead, the heavily radicalized Assembly engages in a sad spectacle of hysterical rage (like the Ocean Viking affair). Basically, parliamentary chaos presents itself as a mirror image of Jupiterian narcissism. But logic is always a political flight to emotion and gestures to the detriment of action in the service of France. The senseless use of Article 49-3 (10 times), which allows the adoption of texts without the vote of the deputies, confirms the fiasco of the democratic renewal, no matter how much it was expected.

Thus, since the result of the 2022 legislative elections, the Grand Guignol politician has become worse. Today, the country is on the brink of paralysis and precipice in a context of unstable social movements, and the state of its political system calls into question its ability to commit to reforms in retreat. In any case, it has been proven that the failure of French politics is more a matter of the personality, understanding of the state, characters, education and intellectual level of its leaders and elected politicians than the balance of power. .

SEE ALSO – Legislation: towards an institutional crisis?

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