Political Issues in France Before the EP ElectionPolitics | February 13, 2019, Wednesday // 09:54| views
Facing heavy losses in May's European Parliament election, France's two traditional major parties risk becoming just bit-part players in the two biggest blocs in the chamber, Politico reported.
That, in turn, will mean fewer influential posts for lawmakers and less clout in the Parliament for one of the EU's big powers and founding members.
Both the conservative Les Républicains and the Socialist Party (PS) have been hit hard by the rise of Emmanuel Macron and his centrist party. The PS is in particularly dire straits, polling at only around 5 percent. If it falls below that threshold in the election, it will not send any MEPs at all to the next Parliament.
“The risk is that the left is so deeply divided that there won’t be any French person to represent it in the Parliament,” said a staff member from the French delegation of the center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) bloc in the legislature. “What we're facing is a catastrophe.”
The loss of big-hitters will also mean a lower media profile for French MEPs back home.
According to POLITICO's latest projection based on opinion polls, the party that won 13 seats in the last election would drop to five seats in the next Parliament — as part of a 133-strong Socialists & Democrats group. That's a serious comedown for the party that has produced pioneers of the European project such as François Mitterrand and Jacques Delors.
“We are going to lose a lot of MEPs,” said Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy, a Socialist MEP who has been mentioned as a possible candidate to lead her party in the May election. “Right now, we are doing the job, we’re getting on with things. It’s not enough, but I don’t have any magic wand to change things.”
Things are looking only a bit better for Les Républicains. They are forecast to win 11 seats in the Parliament, compared to 20 in the last election five years ago, making them a small presence in a European People's Party (EPP) bloc of 176 MEPs.