Certainly. For a cohabitation would be an opportunity for him to get out of the quagmire in which France is gradually sinking. By letting the oppositions of the right and the left take their share of the burden.
Let’s do a little political fiction. There is increasing talk of a dissolution of the National Assembly less than six months after the legislative elections of spring 2022. Dangerous for the majority? Certainly. Stupid? Not so much. The President of the Republic is said to have mentioned it himself on September 29 during a dinner at the Elysée Palace on pension reform, in the presence of the leaders of the majority. He is said to have said, in substance, “if there is a motion of censure, in the minute, there will be a dissolution”.
An overflow of democracy
The political class did not believe it. First, because the deputies elected in June are not certain to regain their seats. Second, because the French do not want to go back to the polls after the two rounds of municipal elections in March and June 2020, torn apart by the Covid epidemic, after the presidential elections in April 2022, followed by the legislative elections on June 12 and 19, 2022. There would be a kind of overflow of democracy.
And yet, the idea of dissolution is gaining ground. This is what the Journal du Dimanche understands, stating that the subject was discussed on November 3, 2022 at the executive office of the Macronist party. “The party is prepared for any eventuality,” said Stéphane Séjourné, new head of the Renaissance party. “A dissolution protocol” has even been established. Everything is ready.
This was confirmed by Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labor, on the television channel LCI: “If the oppositions were to join forces to adopt a motion of censure and bring down the government, [the President] would defer to the French.”
And to make good weight, the Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne specifies in an interview given on October 30 to a Portuguese newspaper “If there is an alliance to bring down the government (…) going back to the ballot box may be a way”.
What is the point of a dissolution?
Given the results of the presidential and legislative elections, the President of the Republic and his (relative) majority have no interest, at first sight, in going back to the voters. They could take a nice jacket.
Let’s remember that Macron was re-elected President of the Republic on April 24, 2022 with 18,768,639 votes (final figures), i.e. 58.55% of the votes cast, which put him well ahead of the presidential election. But this flattering score falls to 38.52% reported to the entire electorate.
Worse: between 2017 and 2022, Macron lost 1,974,489 votes! This is not the triumph that we would like to believe.
A cohabitation requested by the French
At the same time, Marine Le Pen totals 13.288.686 votes (27,28% of the registered voters) and gains 2.650.211 votes in five years! The electoral dynamics are thus favorable to her.
The figures attest to the rejection of the re-elected president and his policies during his five-year term. It is so true that an OpinionWay poll for Cnews reveals that “one person out of three who voted for Macron in the second round would like him not to have a majority in the National Assembly”. And 63% of the French registered voters want a cohabitation with the appointment of a Prime Minister from an opposition party.
In other words, many voters voted for Macron to block Marine Le Pen, but they do not want Macron to govern. Here is France divided, fractured, more divided than ever.
The legislative elections: Macron weakened
Then there were the legislative elections. They confirmed the rejection of Emmanuel Macron by the French. The president lost his absolute majority. The new Macronist party, Renaissance, has only 170 deputies (including 4 related), the Rassemblement National 89 deputies (including one related), France Insoumise with Nupes 75 deputies, the Republicans 62 deputies … The various parties favorable to the President of the Republic totaling only 254 seats out of 577, they have only a relative majority.
This political instability prevents the President of the Republic from carrying out the reforms he announced during the campaign, and in particular the pension reform. Hence their wrath.
A new cohabitation?
But new legislative elections would not be favorable to the Macronist parties. The President knows this well. The economic and social problems related to the explosion of inflation, the senseless increase in energy and food prices would be fatal to the elected officials close to power. And would benefit first the Rassemblement national, then the France insoumise.
It is here, no doubt, that Emmanuel Macron is playing a new card, that of cohabitation. As was the case several times under the 5ᵉ Republic, with Mitterrand and Chirac.
Since France is in a catastrophic economic and social situation, why not put some of the burden on the opposition? The one on the right or the one on the left, it does not matter. Thus, the political responsibility for the failures to come in the next few months would be largely shared.
Fiction? Perhaps. But who’s to say Macron hasn’t thought of that?