Analysis

The EP election will take place on the 26 May 2019. France is one of the main beneficiaries of the re-distribution of seats vacated by the UK MEPs and will gain 5 more seats.

  1. Political context : the European election will be a key milestone for President Macron’s political mandate

After winning the presidential and legislative elections convincingly , the European elections will be a key moment for the “Macronists”.

  • the European issue is at the heart of Macron’s policy. He has positioned himself as the leader willing to relaunch the European project and take on the populists.  He recently said that Orban and Salvini were right to see him as their main opponent. At present, his political party “La République En Marche” (LREM) does not have any seats in the European Parliament. Therefore, in order to pursue and implement his European ambitions, he will need to fill in the majority of the French seats with his people, especially as his wish to have transnational lists failed.
  • European elections are traditionally seen as a test on domestic policies. Winning the EP elections will be a real challenge following a series of damaging events- the “Benalla” scandal concerning a member of the Elysée staff,  the resignation of  key Ministers (Interior, Ecology) and the fact that his economic reforms have still not produced any concrete results
  • EP elections suffer from low turnout which in the past has given an advantage to the far-right Eurosceptics. For this reason the LREM party already started their campaign in April.
  1. Single national list

Emmanuel Macron has reformed the electoral system for the EP elections. In the past France was divided into 8 electoral districts based on regions. In June 2018, President Macron passed a law to create a single national constituency. He hopes that this will help him as there is less of a need to have a regional base, which his party lacks compared to the traditional parties “Les Républicains” (conservative party) and the Socialists.

  1. Issues which are likely to shape the election

The political opposition – left and right -will make this election a vote on Emmanuel Macron’s record to date. LREM will on the other hand try to highlight the divide  between pro-Europeans and Eurosceptics. Emmanuel Macron’s actions at the European level will be closely watched. The president of the LREM group at the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, has said that “the voters will have to choose between Macron & Merkel’s Europe or Orban and Salvini’s Europe”.

Immigration will be the key theme, along with climate change, workers’ rights and digital.

  1. Recent polls

The latest poll (13 September) puts Macron and Le Pen neck and neck on 21.5% and 21% respectively.

 LREM : 21.5% (down 7 points since May)

Rassemblement national : 21% (up 4%)

Les Republicains : 14% (stable)

La France Insoumise : 12.5% (stable)

Greens : 5%

Socialists : 4.5% ( down 1.5%)

OTHER

The "gilets jaunes" have formed a list for the EP elections headed by one of their most…

S&D (13 MEPs)

The Socialist party (PS) performed disastrously in the presidential elections and is…

EPP (20 MEPs)

François-Xavier Bellamy will head a trio of politicians for Les Républicains, including…

ENF (16 MEPs)

The Front National has been renamed “Rassemblement National” and appointed its young (23)…

ALDE (7 MEPs)

Veteran MEP, Jean Arthuis, has announced that he will not stand again . 

GUE (4 MEPs)

o “La France Insoumise” (LFI) (far-left political party founded by Jean-Luc Mélenchon…

GREENS (6 MEPs)

The Greens have been the first party to select their candidates, with  Yannick Jadot  MEP…

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