The French President’s Coalition, Emmanuel Macronfailed to maintain an absolute majority in Parliament in the second round of legislative electionsplayed this Sunday (19/6) in an atmosphere of suspense due to the tight results of the first vote, held on the 12th.
The official results have not yet been released, but the projections already give an idea of the new distribution of seats in the Legislative.
Despite its centrist coalition “Ensemble!” (“Together!”) was the most voted, Macron will need to seek alliances and will struggle to govern due to the strong advance of forces of the left and, above all, of the radical rightin the opinion of experts.
After the release of the first projections on Sunday night (19/6), the country’s prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said in a statement on French TV that she had never seen a National Assembly like the one that is now taking shape..
“The situation represents a risk for the country, given the risks we have already faced nationally and internationally,” he declared. “We will work from tomorrow to build a majority.”
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Emmanuel Macron, President of France, during a speech after the meeting of EU leaders – Photo: Johanna Geron/REUTERS
And the first time that a newly elected president (re-elected, in the case of Macron) does not obtain an absolute majority to govern.
A precedent had already occurred with the socialist François Mitterrand in 1988, but in different circumstances, since at the time he did not have a majority in the National Assembly, unlike Macron today.
It was the right-wing opposition that dominated Parliament at that time, and Mitterrand called for new legislative elections, obtaining a relative majority.
THE Macron’s defeat is being called by the French press “historic“.
According to projections by the Ifop institute released after the polls closed, the president’s centrist alliance won between 210 and 240 seats, which represents a relative majority. It is necessary to win at least 289 of the 577 seats in Parliament to have an absolute majority.
The president will now have to face political forces that fiercely and systematically oppose everything the government presents.
Nupes, an acronym for the New Ecological and Social Popular Union, aThe coalition of the country’s main left forces, formed on the initiative of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of Insubmissive France, of the radical left, became the main opposition force, winning between 149 and 180 seatsaccording to projections from different institutes.
It is a leap from the current legislature, where the left as a whole has fewer than 80 deputies. As the main opposition force, Nupes will chair the important finance committee of the parliament.
In the case of Mélenchon’s partywho placed third in the first round of the April presidential elections, the progression is considerable: of the current 17 deputies only, France Insubmissa will have, in the estimates of the Ipsos institute, 89 seats in parliament. In a speech tonight, Mélenchon declared that the “defeat of the presidential party is total.”
But the advance considered historic and that had not been predicted in these proportions in the polls that preceded the vote is that of the radical right of Marine Le Penwhich was the third most voted political force.
The number of deputies from your Rassemblement National party (National Regrouping) was multiplied by more than ten and will go from just seven deputies currently to somewhere between 80 and 95, according to projections by the Ifop institute..
This is the second time in its history (the first was in 1988) that Le Pen’s party will be able to form a group in the French parliament, which requires a minimum number of 15 deputies. The formation of a group guarantees more material and financial means, time to speak, but above all the right to present bills.
“This group will be by far the most numerous in the history of our political family. We have achieved our goal: to make President Macron a minority, with no control over power.”, declared Le Pen this Sunday after the release of the estimates. She also promised to represent “firm opposition, but respectful of institutions”.
The second round of these legislative elections, like the first, was marked by strong abstention, estimated at 54%, according to the Ipsos institute. Young people and workers are the ones who most abstain from voting – in France, voting is not compulsory.
The tight duel between Macron’s centrist alliance and the left-wing Nupes in the first round of these legislatives, which resulted in a tie, with a difference of only about 21,000 votes in favor of the Ensemble! from Macron, led the French president to launch appeals on the eve of this second round, warning that there would be “disorder” or “blockade” of French political life if he did not obtain a “solid majority” in Parliament.
Traditionally in France, the party of the president who has just been elected (in the case of Macron, re-elected in April) also wins the legislative elections that take place following the presidential election.. This is interpreted as a vote of confidence to the new head of state, so that he can carry out his government program.
But Macron was already facing strong opposition from the electorate, which turned to radical parties in the presidential elections, which garnered more than half of the votes in the first round last April.
When he was elected for the first time in 2017, Macron was able to easily obtain an absolute majority in the legislature, with 308 deputies.despite his newly created party having no deputy at the time.
Now, its acronym, renamed Renascimento (former República em Marcha), would have won only around 150 seats, according to estimates. The difference, which would amount to a total of 210 to 240 seats in Parliament in his favor, was won by political forces in his coalition.
Difficulty to govern
“It is a failure for President Macron. It is a massive retreat, a repudiation. This clearly shows that the French wanted to sanction the exercise of a power seen as being exercised alone.. And also their distrust in relation to various topics, such as pension reform, the environment and purchasing power”, declared Brice Teinturier, director of the Ipsos Institute.
In order to govern with dozens of seats missing to achieve an absolute majority, it will be up to President Macron to try to make a deal with the traditional right of The Republicans, in the opinion of experts. The party won, according to projections, between 55 and 78 seats.
There is also the occasional adhesion of some socialists who opposed the agreement to form the Nupes left front. for disagreeing with points of Mélenchon’s programme, especially in relation to Europe.
Mélenchon defends the non-compliance with some European Union treaties, mainly in relation to economic and budgetary rules.
The strong advance of opposition forces indicates that the task will not be easy for the government. With only 17 deputies in the legislature that ends this Sunday, Mélenchon’s Insubmissive France managed to impede discussions, such as the retirement reform, in 2020presenting more than 20 thousand amendments, practically identical, but that needed to be analyzed individually, with the objective of delaying the adoption of the bill, later withdrawn by the government.
There are doubts, however, if Nupes, which brings together Insubmissive France, the socialists, the Green Party and communists, will effectively remain united after these elections.
Furthermore, the National Regrouping of Marine Le Pen should also hamper government action now with reinforced parliamentary means.
The lack of an absolute majority is likely to considerably complicate Macron’s plans to carry out a pension reform that would raise the minimum age from the current 62 to 64 or 65. The discussion, which is open, is due to be presented to parliament in September.
“It will be very difficult to govern France. What are the room for maneuver in a real country when there is an ambitious and energetic radical left and a radical right in the 20% range?” says political analyst Jerôme Fourquet, director of opinion of the Ifop institute and author of several books on French political life.
“We could have a second Macron term similar to that of Jacques Chirac between 2002 and 2007, full of immobility”adds.
“Guerrilla in sight”, wrote in its today’s edition the Jornal do Domingo, due to the difficulty for Macron to obtain an absolute majority and the strong political opposition of radical parties.
Fifteen Macron ministers contested legislative elections. The president had already warned that the losers, such as the minister of health, Brigitte Bourguignon, will have to leave office. The prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, won in the Calvados region and may remain in her post.
The term of deputies elected this Sunday begins this Wednesday.