Explained: French President Emmanuel Macron Loses Majority In Parliament Two Months After Re-Election

by Sagar Kar Debroy - Jun 20, 2022 05:20 PM +05:30 IST
Explained: French President Emmanuel Macron Loses Majority In Parliament Two Months After Re-ElectionPresident Emmanuel Macron voting on Sunday.
Snapshot
  • France is staring at a tumultuous time ahead. Macron will now be forced to compromise to strike deals with other parties in the assembly to pass legislation over the next five years.

Less than two months ago, Emanuel Macron was re-elected as the President of France. At that time it seemed his party would maintain its majority in the National Assembly. The National Assembly has 577 seats and a party needs to win 289 seats to control the assembly and govern the country without hindrance.

At the time he was re-elected the President of France, Macron's party had more than 300 seats. An absolute majority. This allowed him to be a Jupiterian president. The results of the new parliamentary elections are out now. Macron's party has secured 245 seats, well short of the 289 required to maintain a majority.

This is the first time in 20 years that a French president who won the presidential elections comfortably has failed to win a majority in the parliamentary elections, which is held after the presidential elections.

Source: BBC
Source: BBC

Macron's party, Ensemble, remains the biggest party in parliament but the results raise the prospects of France transforming into an 'ungovernable' country, thanks to the political deadlock.

Jean-Luc Melenchon’s radical-left alliance, the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPES), has the second highest number of seats in the National Assembly.

It is a group of all left wing parties in France, a coalition stitched by Melenchon’, for the purpose of this parliamentary election. It includes the hard-left France Unbowed party, the socialists, the greens and the communists. Jean-Luc Melenchon's coalition won 131 seats.

Melenchon's goal was to ensure this coalition he stitched up, won the highest number of seats, which might have forced Macron to appoint him as his prime minister. He has not succeeded in that goal, although he has succeeded in ensuring that Macron's party does not have an absolute majority in parliament.

On the other end of the political spectrum, Marine Le Pen's National Rally performed stunningly. Before the elections, her party had eight seats in parliament. This time, Le Pen's party has won 89 seats. A 10 fold increase. Technically, Le Pen's party is the second biggest party in parliament as Melenchon's NUPES is a coalition of different parties, so the 131 seats they have, do not belong to a single party.

National Rally is set to be a powerful political force in parliament. They have won more seats than the mainstream conservative party, Les Republicains. Les Republicains won 64 seats, as per the BBC.

A spokesperson for Macron's party said that, “it’s a disappointing first place, but it’s a first place nonetheless”.

“The presidential party’s defeat is complete,” said Melenchon, whilst greeting his supporters in Paris.

Marine Le Pen wasn't feeling that shabby either, after the parliamentary elections. “This group will be by far the largest in the history of our political family,” she said.

Elisabeth Borne, Macron's newly-appointed Prime Minister said that the situation was 'unprecedented'.

"This situation represents a risk for our country, given the risks we're facing nationally and internationally, we will work as of tomorrow to build a working majority," she said, after a long meeting at the presidential Elysee Palace.

Macron is now the head of an unstable government. According to reports, the most likely scenario now is Macron's party seeking to find a working majority with Les Republicains, the traditional centre right party.

Turn out in the elections was quite low. More than half of voters abstained. The turnout was 46.23 per cent, a testament to voters’ growing disaffection with French politics.

Reforms Macron had planned are at risk now. Pension age reform being the biggest one. Macron intended to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Melenchon on the other hand has promised to lower the pension age to 60 and his coalition just ensured that Macron doesn't have an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

France is staring at a tumultuous time ahead. Macron will now be forced to compromise to strike deals with other parties in the assembly to pass legislation over the next five years.

Macron's minister who lost the election should also expect to loose their ministerial positions, as Macron has a rule that ministers who stand for election and lose must step down.

According to BBC, "among the ministers to lose their seats was Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon, who lost to her far-right opponent by just 56 votes. Green Transition Minister Amelie de Montchalin was also defeated."

The president of the assembly Richard Ferrand, one of Macron's closest allies, conceded victory to his NUPES rival Melanie Thomin. Secretary of state, Justine Benin too, lost her seat.

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