Senate: Right Maintains Majority, Left’s Resilience

Stability was predictable and was effectively maintained in the Senate during the elections to renew half of the seats in the upper house, which took place on Sunday September 24. Less than eight months before the next European elections, 170 of the 348 senatorial seats were at stake for a six-year mandate, chosen by the electors in around forty departments, including four in Occitanie (Lot, Lozère, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées -Eastern).

At the end of the day of voting, whether through two-round majority ballots or proportional list ballots, the results confirmed the predominance of the right and the center, granting a bonus to outgoing senators. Bruno Retailleau, who confirmed his candidacy to head the Les Républicains (LR) group, stressed that the LR group will remain “by far the most important”, planning to obtain “143 or 144 senators”, against 145 previously. He also criticized the President of the Republic by highlighting the “disconnection of Macronism with the field”.

The shaken macronie

The presidential majority suffered a significant setback with the defeat of the Secretary of State for Citizenship, Sonia Backès, in New Caledonia. Being a minority and fragmented into several groups in the Senate, the presidential majority suffered from its weak local roots, in particular because of the results of the municipal elections which deprived the majority of many electors.

Former minister Brigitte Bourguignon, already defeated in the 2022 legislative elections, also suffered a defeat in Pas-de-Calais. In the Senate, the Renaissance group saved the seat of Xavier Iacovelli (Hauts-de-Seine), but lost that of Julien Bargeton in Paris. With already reduced numbers in the Senate, the Macronists of the RDPI group (24 elected officials) are faced with their weak local roots, which could lead to a reduction in their numbers.

On the other hand, the Horizons party, founded by Édouard Philippe, managed to enter the Senate by obtaining seats for Olivier Bitz (Orne), Louis Vogel (Seine-et-Marne), Cédric Chevalier (Marne) and Emmanuel Capus ( re-elected in Maine-et-Loire).

Three senators for the RN

Although it did not really campaign for the senatorial elections, preferring to concentrate on the European elections next year, the National Rally (RN) made a return to the Senate by electing three senators. The far-right party welcomed this victory, calling it a repair of the “democratic anomaly” which consisted of the absence of the RN in the Senate. This victory was won by Christopher Szczurek in Pas-de-Calais, Joshua Hochart in the North and Aymeric Durox in Seine-et-Marne. It should be noted that senator Stéphane Ravier, elected under the RN label in 2014 and 2020, has since left the party to join Reconquête, led by Éric Zemmour.

PS, second political group in the Senate

On the left side, which hoped to reach the figure of 100 senators (compared to 91 previously), the Socialist Party aims to maintain its position as the second political group in the Senate (64 senators so far). The socialist leader, Patrick Kanner, re-elected in the North, welcomed the conclusion of a “win-win agreement” with the communists and ecologists in around fifteen departments, to the great dismay of La France Insoumise ( LFI), who had submitted last-minute candidacies but ultimately failed to obtain seats in the Senate.

In Paris, the alliance between the Socialist Party, the French Communist Party and Europe Écologie Les Verts (EELV) bore fruit by sending eight of the twelve Parisian senators to the Luxembourg Palace, including Yannick Jadot and Ian Brossat, while the right, divided, obtained only four seats.

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