Lhe scattering of political forces following the June 2022 legislative elections and the access to the National Assembly of parties usually marginalized by the majority vote could lead one to believe that France was in fact switched to proportional representation. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.
On the one hand because the fragmentation of political forces in the Assembly at the end of the legislative elections is fortuitous – and moreover masks real injustices in terms of the fairness of the transformation of votes into seats. On the other hand, because the majority voting system has certain properties that can be observed since 1958 and for which it is difficult to see why they would cease to operate in the future.
The main one is accepted by both supporters and opponents of this election: majority selection favors the formation or coalition that comes out on top. A party winning one-third of the vote nationwide can expect to win in two-thirds of the constituencies and thus find itself over-represented in the Assembly. However, this winner’s bonus, whatever its size, takes on a particular meaning today.
The winner’s bonus is no longer a guarantee
First, it contributes to freezing partisan agreements. Like the left within the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) or the center with Together!, the political parties are encouraged to agree before the elections to present single candidates and hope to come out on top. These pre-election agreements weigh on the future: it is difficult, in fact, to change allies the day after the election. They thus contribute to making it difficult to form coalitions and constitute one of the explanations for the minority nature of the current government.
In addition, the example of Nupes indicates that the pre-legislative agreements are based on the score of each partner during the presidential election, which gives a determining weight to this election marked by specific logics (personalization, useful vote or vote of message of first round, polarization…). In summary: with the majority, the parties are invited to agree before the legislative elections; with the proportional, after – once the verdict of the voters has been delivered.
Then, the winner’s bonus which has hitherto played in favor of government parties could tomorrow benefit radical parties, provided they are in an electoral dynamic. The holding of a presidential election a few weeks before the legislative elections is an effective device for the development of such a dynamic, even if the effect was less in 2022. It could benefit any victorious presidential party.
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