Absolute majority as in 2017 or simply relative, or even cohabitation with the left? Here are the three scenarios that await Emmanuel Macron depending on the results of the legislative elections, the first round of which takes place on Sunday.

What happens in case of an absolute majority?

This is the ideal scenario for the president re-elected in April. If the Confederation Together! (LREM, MoDem, Horizons and Agir) won at least 289 seats out of the 577 in the National Assembly, Emmanuel Macron would have the parliamentary support necessary to carry out his policy during his second five-year term, as during the first when he had nearly 350 seats with its allies. Emmanuel Macron also reiterated Thursday his call to the French to grant him “a strong and clear majority”.

“From the moment he has a majority in the National Assembly, the head of state has a lot of power,” Didier Maus, president emeritus of the French Association for Constitutional Law, told AFP. “He becomes a captain who determines the policy of the Nation”, he adds, recalling that we spoke of “hyper-presidency” under Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012).

In case of relative majority?

If Together! comes first, but without reaching the bar of 289 seats, Emmanuel Macron would then only have a relative majority in the National Assembly. The scenario would be more complicated for the President of the Republic who would have two options. The first would be to seek the support of other political groups in order to have an absolute majority to approve the texts. It could be a legislative agreement or a case-by-case agreement. The second option would be to govern in a minority with the Prime Minister of his choice who could remain Elisabeth Borne. This situation was that of Michel Rocard from 1988 to 1991, the left not having obtained an absolute majority after the re-election of François Mitterrand. The head of government then had recourse 28 times to the famous article 49-3 which allows the government to adopt a text without submitting it to the vote of the Assembly. After resorting to this constitutional weapon, the opposition can table a motion of censure and bring down the government, provided it is united and musters a majority to vote for it. “Mr. Rocard’s government was in the minority, but there was never a majority of opponents to bring it down,” recalls Mr. Maus.

Note that the use of 49-3 is much more limited today. In particular, it can only apply to the budget and to one piece of legislation per session.

What about cohabitation?

If Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s left-wing Nupes alliance wins an absolute majority in the legislative elections, this would naturally be the least favorable scenario for Emmanuel Macron. He would then be deprived of practically all his powers. “It is no longer he who will determine the policy of the Nation, but the majority in the National Assembly and the Prime Minister who will come from it”, specifies Dominique Rousseau, professor of constitutional law at the University Panthéon-Sorbonne.

The president would however retain the power to appoint the prime minister, but who will have to be in phase with the majority in the Assembly so as not to be quickly overthrown. In the case of cohabitation, the Head of State also retains the possibility of dissolving the National Assembly and convening new legislative elections in an attempt to recover his majority. Dissolution is a double-edged sword: Jacques Chirac lost his majority in 1997 with a dissolution of the Assembly which was sanctioned by the voters. He was forced to cohabit with Lionel Jospin at Matignon for the last five years of his seven-year term. However, he remains Chief of the Armed Forces.

06/10/2022 10:29:32 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP