Presidential elections in France | Two giants on the verge of extinction?

(Paris) After the miserable result in the first round of the presidential elections, the future of the Socialist Party and the Republican Party looks uncertain to say the least…

Posted at 6:00 AM

Jean Christophe Lawrence

Jean Christophe Lawrence

Slap, collapse, tragedy… What term should be used to describe the double defeat of the Socialist Party and the Republican Party on Sunday in the first round of the presidential election in France?

The 2017 elections had already heralded difficult years for the two giants of French politics, one on the left and one on the right. But five years later, their decline is so confirmed that some evoke their possible disappearance.

The Socialist Party candidate, Anne Hidalgo, had a historically low score of 1.7%, worse than the starving 6% of her colleague Benoit Hamon five years ago.

Candidate Valerie Pecresse, for her part, had a meager score of 4.8%, at the end of a failed campaign from start to finish.

These results, below the 5% threshold, mean that the two political parties will not be compensated for their campaign expenses.

A particularly harsh blow for LR, which has invested at least 7 million euros to try to avoid sinking. Evidence of this ordeal: the party just launched a “pécressothon” to save the coffers.

I need your emergency assistance by May 15th to complete the funding for this presidential campaign. “It’s about the survival of the Republicans, and beyond that, the survival of the Republican right,” Valerie Pecresse, who also took on 5 million euros in personal debt in the first round, said Thursday. An unimaginable call for donations to the once powerful party of Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Gonzalo Fuentes photos, Reuters archives

Valerie Pecres, Republican Party

However, this simultaneous collapse comes into the natural order of things, Thomas Ginolli thinks. For a political scientist, author of a recent article on sovereignty published by the Que sais-je Foundation? However, this type of eclipse is part of the inevitable evolution of political ecosystems, which change at the same pace as societies.

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“What happens to the big parties is what happens to the big stars that shine so bright they suddenly turn into a dwarf,” he explains. These large parties become dwarves when they have nothing to do or say with regard to the fundamentals upon which they were formed and when they are outside the prestige of the country. »

Thomas Gignoli, among others, cites the example of the French Radical Party, which was responsible for the Law on Secularism in 1905 (still in force) and which is today a “completely marginal” party. With time everything goes…

Explosion or redefinition?

But be careful not to write obituaries too quickly for PS and LR.

Political scientist Jean Bitaux recalls that these two formations remain rooted in France’s domestic scene, with hundreds of elected officials at the provincial, district and municipal levels, making their disappearance “unlikely” in the short term.

Moreover, we will have to see how they do in the next legislative elections, scheduled for June 12 and 19.

Logic would like to confirm their slide, as this election is often compared to the “third round” of the presidential election.

If necessary, nothing excludes a simple and simple collapse of the Socialist Party (currently 28 seats out of 577) and the LR (101 seats out of 577) with a complete reconfiguration of the political landscape on the right. Thus, the more radical elected officials of the LR may be tempted to join Eric Zemmour’s new party, while others, who are more “Macron-friendly”, could join La République en Marche.

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On the other hand, success in legislative elections, even if relatively, could mark the beginning of a rebirth for one or the other. Jean Bittoux points out that the LR party still has a few “stars” capable of taking the lead, unlike PS, which has no senior successors. It summarizes “The question, in the case of PS, is whether the engine is permanently stopped”.

This reconstruction, however, will be subject to a serious examination of conscience, believes Bruno Cautres. Because in LR, as in PS, no one seems to have understood that the French political landscape has changed and that their programs correspond less and less to the expectations of French society.

” that they [ces deux partis] This concludes a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), who is also an instructor at the Institute of Sciences Po. They need a major overhaul. They must do the intellectual work they did not do during Macron’s five-year term, i.e. redefine concepts, keywords and vocabulary that define them. And I’m not talking about very general words like ecology or democracy or citizenship, which don’t mean anything anymore because everyone today says it to themselves.

In short, they finally have to say something clear about who they are. Once we know that, French political life will be much better…”

Republicans in dates


General Charles de Gaulle founded the Rally of the French People (RPF).


The creation of the Union for the New Republic from the rubble of the Rwandan Patriotic Front. Charles de Gaulle was elected President of the Republic, and was re-elected in 1965.

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Change the new name. The Gaullist movement, an offshoot of the United Nations, founded the Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR).


Jacques Chirac created the Rally for the Republic (RPR) to “renew” the German Democratic Republic. He was elected in 1995, then re-elected in 2002. The Rally for Democracy (Union for a Popular Movement) party was dissolved.


Nicolas Sarkozy seizes the party, wins the 2007 presidential election and renames the party. Born “Republicans” (LR).


Croatian Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Valeri Pecres arrives 5And from 1Verse Round with 4.8% of the vote.

Socialist Party in dates


Founding of the Socialist Party


Creation of the New Socialist Party, for which François Mitterrand became its “first secretary” two years later. He was elected President of the Republic in 1981, and was re-elected in 1988.


Francois Hollande became 2And President of the Socialist Republic of VAnd Republic after Mitterrand with 51% of the vote.


François Hollande does not represent himself. His successor, Benoit Hamon, smashed 6% of the vote. Emmanuel Macron, Hollande’s former economy minister, founded the Republic on the Road and joined the Elysee.


Anne Hidalgo gets 1.7% of the Socialist Party’s vote in the first round of the presidential election.

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