Emmanuel Macron projected to lose majority in French National Assembly
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to lose his parliamentary majority less than two months after being re-elected.
Projections this evening based on partial results show that his alliance is set to get the most seats in the final round of the parliamentary election – but lose its majority.
They show that Mr Macron’s candidates would win between 200 and 250 seats – much less than the 289 required to have a straight majority at the National Assembly, France’s most powerful house of parliament.
The situation, which is unusual in France, is expected to make Mr Macron’s political manoeuvring difficult.
He won the presidential election at the end of April with 58.5% of the vote, but the country was deeply divided with growing support for Far Right Marine Le Pen.
Many also had wanted the leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who was knocked out in the previous round of voting, to win the presidency and said they voted for Macron to try and stave off the threat from Le Pen, rather than out of conviction he was the best candidate.
A new coalition – made up of the hard left, the Socialists and the Greens and led by Melenchon – is projected to become the main opposition force in France with about 150 to 200 seats.
Le Pen’s far-right National Rally is projected to register a huge surge with potentially more than 80 seats, up from eight before.
Polls are being held nationwide to select the 577 members of the National Assembly.
The strong performance of the leftist coalition is expected to make it harder for Mr Macron to implement the agenda he was re-elected on in May, including tax cuts and raising France’s retirement age from 62 to 65.
Mr Macron’s government will still have the ability to rule, but only by bargaining with legislators.
The centrists could try to negotiate on a case by case basis with politicians from the centre-left and from the conservative party – with the goal of preventing opposition politicians from being numerous enough to reject the proposed measures.
The government could also occasionally use a special measure provided by the French Constitution to adopt a law without a vote.
A similar situation happened in 1988 under Socialist president Francois Mitterrand, who then had to seek support from the Communists or the centrists to pass laws.
These parliamentary elections have once again largely been defined by voter apathy – with over half the electorate staying home.
Audrey Paillet, 19, who cast her ballot in Boussy-Saint-Antoine in south-east Paris, was saddened that so few people turned out.
‘Some people have fought to vote. It is too bad that most of the young people don’t do that,’ she said.
Earlier this week Macron warned that an inconclusive election, or hung parliament, would put the nation in danger.
While standing on a runway with the presidential plane waiting in the background ahead of a visit to French troops stationed near Ukraine, he said: ‘In these troubled times, the choice you’ll make this Sunday is more crucial than ever.
‘Nothing would be worse than adding French disorder to the world’s disorder.’
But Simon Nouis, an engineer voting in south Paris, said: ‘I’m not afraid to have a National Assembly that’s more split up among different parties. I’m hoping for a regime that’s more parliamentarian and less presidential, like you can have in other countries.’
Mr Macron’s failure to get a majority could have ramifications across Europe.
Analysts predict that the French leader will have to spend the rest of his term focusing more on his domestic agenda rather than his foreign policy.
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