Half of Macron's cabinet is at stake in the legislative elections in France on Sunday

The strong possibility of not achieving a “solid majority”, as he calls it, in this Sunday’s legislative elections worries the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, who is risking his ability to carry out the reforms promised for his second and last term and thereby consolidating his legacy. But the appointment carries another risk: of the 28 ministers and secretaries of state appointed in May, 15 are running for a seat – including the prime minister, Élisabeth Borne – and only one, the Secretary of State for the Sea, Justine Benin, is He already assured in the first round, held last Sunday. Macron has been clear: whoever does not obtain his position in the National Assembly will have to abandon his portfolio. This adds even more uncertainty to a mandate that has begun full of shocks: from the organization fiasco of the Champions League final to the accusations of rape against one of his new ministers. The first round allowed for a sigh of relief: all the candidate ministers qualified for the second round.

But the respite is only momentary. The strength of the alliance of the leftist parties led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPES), shakes macronismo, which has also already suffered several setbacks: the former Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer He was defeated in the first round, as was the former Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who failed to classify his Macronist candidacy for the French in the Iberian Peninsula.

Therefore, no one lowers their guard. These are the ministers who play it:

Élisabeth Borne, a rookie prime minister in the elections

She was one of Macron’s most veteran ministers, since she held various portfolios from 2017, until the president chose her as head of government. Even so, these are her first elections as her candidate. She does not seem to be doing badly: in the first round she was classified as first, with 34.2% of the votes, for her constituency in Calvados (Normandy). Her rival, the NUPES candidate, Noé Gauchard, obtained 24.53%. The difference, however, is just under 5,000 votes, so Borne has doubled her campaign trips, while her rival appeals to the abstentionists – the big problem of the first round – to turn that narrow margin.

Damien Abad, solid in the electoral race, but weakened by suspicions of sexual abuse

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Damien Abad, parliamentary head of the conservative Republican party, was, for Macron, the great trophy stolen from the traditional right for his second term. Quickly, he has turned into a nightmare. Up to three women – the last one this week – anonymously accuse him of having been raped or sexually abused in the past by the new Minister of Solidarities, Autonomy and Disabled People. Abad reliably denies the facts. The charges do not appear to have affected his chances, very high in view of the comfortable lead he achieved in the first round, of obtaining a seat. However, the growing social pressure both on him and on the rest of the Government due to suspicions of a sexual crime could complicate his political future.

Damien Abad, after voting in the first day of the legislative elections, last Sunday in Ain, in the southeast of France.
Damien Abad, after voting in the first day of the legislative elections, last Sunday in Ain, in the southeast of France. JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK (AFP)

Three members of the Government on the tightrope

The most difficult race, almost doomed to failure, is being experienced by three historic macronists: the delegate minister for Europe, Clément Beaune; the Civil Service, Stanislas Guerini, and the Ecological Transition and Cohesion of Territories, Amélie de Montchalin. The latter managed to qualify with 31.46% of the votes, but was behind the NUPES candidate Jérôme Guedj (38.31%), who has already called for turning the second round into a “referendum for or against Macron.” ”. In the same situation are Beaune, one of Macron’s trusted men and who insisted on appearing in Paris despite knowing that he had strong competition, and Guerini, another – like Beaune – a former socialist turned “early Macronist” , as they call those most faithful to the president.

Nine ministers hoping to get a seat (and keep their portfolio)

Virtually no one doubts that the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, will triumph again in his fief of Tourcoing, where he was mayor for a long time, and will be able to keep his portfolio. Hopes are also high for the head of Public Accounts and former government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, who maintains an almost 18-point lead over his rival from NUPES. Although with less margin and less security, other members of the Cabinet hope to win this first battle: Marc Fesneau, to keep the Agriculture portfolio; Olivier Dussopt, that of Labour; Yaël Braun-Pivet, from Overseas; Olivier Véran, from Parliamentary Relations; and Franck Riester, from Foreign Trade. Olivia Grégoire also aspires to retain her position as government spokesperson. It is more complicated for the Minister of Health, Brigitte Bourguignon, although she hopes to prevail over her rival of the National Rally, the party of Marine Le Pen, in Pas-de-Calais, a bastion of the extreme right.

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