Macron Remains Fragile and Without Majority

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France yesterday entered a phase of high risk of instability because it will be very difficult to govern for the next five years. In the legislative elections, the punishment vote against Emmanuel Macron was much higher than feared, while the extremes – the radical left and the extreme right – achieved an excellent result.

Macron Remains Fragile and Without Majority

The Ensemble coalition (Together), around the president, clearly lost the absolute majority. According to the official results of the Ministry of the Interior, Ensemble won 245 seats, far from the 289 that gives the absolute majority in the National Assembly.

The New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes), led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, which has presented a radical left program, confirm its progress and obtains 131 deputies. But the big surprise was the result of the National Rally (RN, extreme right), led by Marine Le Pen, which is attributed to between 89 seats, a spectacular success, never seen for a party that used to be punished by a majority electoral system and two turns that did not favor him. In the outgoing Assembly, it had only eight deputies.

The presidential party is very far from the absolute majority in the National Assembly and will need allies

Le Pen, who was re-elected in her Pas de Calais constituency, announced a “firm opposition”. She was elated because she was compensated for her defeat against Macron in the presidential elections on April 24. The far-right leader stressed that the movement founded by her father had never reached such a parliamentary level, despite the “unfair and inadequate scrutiny mode.”

Mélenchon spoke of the “total defeat of the presidential party” and the “moral failure” of the president. Despite his rhetoric, Mélenchon did not seem very enthusiastic because the extreme right is very strong and he also knows that the leftist coalition is circumstantial and now each brand (socialist, communist, environmentalist) will form its own parliamentary group and it will be difficult to maintain cohesion.

The result is dismal for Macron, who will need the lifeline of the 61 deputies of the Republicans (LR, right) to guarantee himself a stable majority. But not even that is certain and I don’t know in exchange for what. The situation of the president will be in any case precarious. He will be tied up. The first analysis of political commentators agreed that a political earthquake has occurred.

It is indeed a hard blow for the president, who loses some of the heavyweights who have accompanied him in his project started in 2016 when he resigned as Minister of Economy of the socialist president François Hollande to embark on the conquest of the Elysee. The President of the National Assembly himself, Richard Ferrand, and the head of the parliamentary group and former Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, have not been able to revalidate his seat. They have also lost the Minister of Health, Brigitte Bourguignon, and the head of the Ecological Transition, Amélie de Montchanin. Both must resign from their positions.

Mélenchon speaks of Macron’s “moral failure” and Le Pen savors an unprecedented parliamentary success

The new situation will greatly complicate governability in the next five years because the French system in force since the V Republic was founded, is very presidential, and has little tradition of consensus. In addition, it is very doubtful that the main opposition groups, the radical left, and the extreme right, due to their disruptive attitude, agree to the pacts. If instability sets in, Macron always has the possibility of dissolving the National Assembly early and calling new elections, a risky move. The danger is losing the bet, being further weakened, and having to appoint an opposition prime minister, which in French political jargon is called “cohabitation”.

The trend in the polls was sniffed, although not such a brutal change in balance. Le Journal du Dimanche came out yesterday with a front-page that wondered if Macron was going to be able to govern and ventured five years of “parliamentary guerrilla” by an emboldened opposition that will be tempted to practice permanent obstructionism. The newspaper fell short in its bad omens.

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