France in a zone of political turbulence after the legislative elections

France in a zone of political turbulence after the legislative elections

Emmanuel Macron appears isolated, Monday morning, in the center of a political landscape upside down, with an Assembly without a clear majority, in which his camp is retreating sharply in favor of both the left and the far right.

At the end of the second round of the legislative elections on Sunday, the Macronist candidates Together won 245 seats, ahead of the left-wing coalition Nupes and its allies (137 seats) and the RN which achieved a historic breakthrough (89 seats). The new hemicycle will have 37.3% women, down from 2017 (39%).

The Head of State has largely lost the absolute majority (established at 289 seats out of 577) who, for five years, had voted for all his projects practically without discussion. He inherits instead of a National Assembly where, in the absence of a majority, will sit two powerful oppositions which are resolutely hostile to him.

Consequence: two months after his reappointment to the Elysée, the president’s mandate is already wavering, his reform projects, including pensions, too. And France is moving forward politically in unknown territory.

Symbols of the slap received, the defeats of the leaders of the macronie in the Assembly, two intimates of Mr. Macron: President Richard Ferrand beaten in his stronghold of Finistère and the boss of LREM deputies Christophe Castaner in the Alpes-de -Haute-Provence. Three ministers – Amélie de Montchalin (Ecological Transition), Brigitte Bourguignon (Health) and Justine Benin (Sea) – also bit the dust.

The elected National Assembly (AFP – Valentin RAKOVSKY)

“It will take a lot of imagination” to govern, admitted the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire.

On a more voluntary tone, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne promised to “work tomorrow [lundi] to build a majority of action, there is no alternative”. Herself elected narrowly in Calvados, she stressed that “this unprecedented situation constitutes a risk for our country”.

– Terminal threatened? –

The head of government, if she is reappointed, will immediately face strong turbulence, while the executive intends to push before the summer holidays a bill on purchasing power in full inflation.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in Paris on June 19, 2022 (AFP - Ludovic MARIN)
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in Paris on June 19, 2022 (AFP – Ludovic MARIN)

As of Sunday evening, LFI deputy Eric Coquerel estimated that Ms. Borne could no longer “continue to be prime minister”, and announced that the opposition would file “a motion of censure” against his government on July 5.

For Emmanuel Macron too, the next few days promise to be hectic. He will have to maneuver on the home front, with a reshuffle of his government, at the very moment when he will be caught up in a tunnel of international obligations (European Council, G7, NATO summit).

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who must give up his hope of being “elected Prime Minister” but wins the leadership of the left, welcomed a “total rout” of the presidential party, announcing that Nupes was going to “put the best “of itself” in the parliamentary fight.

The leader of the left-wing Nupes coalition Jean-Luc Mélenchon in Paris, June 19, 2022 (AFP - BERTRAND GUAY)
The leader of the left-wing Nupes coalition Jean-Luc Mélenchon in Paris, June 19, 2022 (AFP – BERTRAND GUAY)

Unsurprisingly, this election, the 4th in two months after the presidential election, was shunned by the French. The abstention rate reached nearly 53.79%, up one point from the first round (52.49%), but lower than the 2017 record (57.36%).

Together! will also have to deal with a clearly reinforced National Rally which, with 89 seats, constitutes the great surprise of this second round, after a campaign in retreat, erased by the duel between the Macron camp and the left. The RN, which had only eight deputies elected in 2017, will be able to form a parliamentary group for the first time since 1986, with probably Marine Le Pen at its head.

– LR survives –

“We will embody a firm opposition, without collusion, responsible,” announced the former presidential finalist, re-elected in Pas-de-Calais.

The leader of the National Rally (RN) Marine Le Pen in Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais), June 19, 2022 (AFP - Denis Charlet)
The leader of the National Rally (RN) Marine Le Pen in Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais), June 19, 2022 (AFP – Denis Charlet)

The Republicans (LR), who represented the second force in the outgoing Assembly, retain some 70 deputies with their allies from the UDI and the centrists, an almost unexpected figure given their crash in the presidential election. Their position will be central in the Assembly since the Macron camp will need votes to reach an absolute majority.

Party leader Christian Jabob said LR would remain “in opposition” but LR mayor of Meaux Jean-François Copé called on Sunday for a “government pact” with Emmanuel Macron, saying he “belongs to the right republican to save the country”.

For Dominique Rousseau, professor of constitutional law at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Emmanuel Macron’s second term will in any case be “a five-year term of negotiations, of parliamentary compromises. It is no longer Jupiter who will govern but a president struggling with an absence of a majority in the Assembly”. And to add: “We are moving towards a five-year period where the role of Parliament will be rehabilitated. This is the practice of all the other European countries”.

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