An atypical ‘honeymoon’ election? Contextual and strategic opportunities in the 2017 French legislative elections

Abstract : This article places the 2017 French legislative elections in the broader context of confirmatory legislative elections in France. It argues that Emmanuel Macron’s victory, whilst rooted in the specific political opportunity structure of the 2017 elections, is also a by-product of the broader institutional logic of ‘honeymoon’ legislative races. We look first at key aspects relating to the confirmatory status of post-presidential elections in France, and ask to what extent the 2017 elections fit this model. We then examine how La République en Marche! was able to adapt to the political opportunity structures of this election, particularly the ‘goodness-of-fit’ of their strategic location as regards previous party attachments and civil society profiles. The paper concludes that, whilst disrupting the traditional bipolar format of French politics, Macron’s undeniable success in 2017 was primarily the tactical maximization of a propitious institutional and political competitive landscape amidst voter apathy and party fragmentation, and not a popular surge of support for a political saviour.
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Jocelyn Evans, Gilles Ivaldi. An atypical ‘honeymoon’ election? Contextual and strategic opportunities in the 2017 French legislative elections. French Politics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 15 (3), pp.322-339. ⟨https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41253-017-0040-y⟩. ⟨10.1057/s41253-017-0040-y⟩. ⟨halshs-01573233⟩

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