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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Has Emmanuel Macron Created a Political Mess?, What the Left Win Means?

French politics appear to be out of control. Unexpectedly, the coalition of Left parties won the most seats in the legislative election even if it did not secure a majority. The far-right National Rally, led by Marine Le Penn and victorious in the first round of voting, has suffered in the final standings.

The New Popular Front (NFP), a coalition of many parties ranging from the far left to the more moderate Socialists and the Ecologists, won the most seats in the election, but it was unable to secure an absolute majority, so it is unable to form the government.

Following his party’s defeat in the European Union elections last month, French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly and announced an early election.

What were the results of the Election?

According to the French Interior Ministry, the NPF secured 182 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, making it the largest group but falling short of the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance, which had slumped to a dismal third in the first round of voting last Sunday, mounted a strong recovery to win 163 seats. Despite leading after the first round of votes, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party and its allies won 143 seats.

After the first round, more than 300 seats went to a three-way run-off between Ensemble, the NFP and the RN. By Tuesday, more than 200 centrist and left-wing candidates withdrew from the second round, in a bid to avoid splitting the vote.

The RN’s strong performance in the first round stirred concerns that France might end up electing its first far-right government since the collaborationist Vichy regime of World War II.

With the Paris Olympics looming, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who plans to offer his resignation, said he was ready to stay at his post “as long as duty demands.” Macron has three years remaining on his presidential term.

“Our country is facing an unprecedented political situation and is preparing to welcome the world in a few weeks,” said Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

When Macron flies to Washington for a summit this week of the NATO alliance, he will leave a country with no clear idea who may be its next prime minister and facing the prospect that the president may be obliged to share power with a politician deeply opposed to his policies.

Will a Coalition Form?

After parliamentary elections, the French president appoints a prime minister from the party that won the most seats. In most ordinary situation, the candidate is from the president’s own party. But this time, Macron faces the prospect of having to appoint a figure from the left-wing coalition, known as a “cohabitation” arrangement.

France has never seen a post-election coalition, which is quite common in northern European parliamentary democracies like Germany or the Netherlands.

Its Fifth Republic was designed in 1958 by war hero Charles de Gaulle to give large, stable parliamentary majorities to presidents and that has created a confrontational political culture with no tradition of consensus and compromises.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI), ruled out a broad coalition of parties, and said Macron had a duty to call on the leftist alliance to rule.

In the centrist camp, Macron’s party head, Stephane Sejourne, said he was ready to work with mainstream parties but ruled out any deal with Melenchon’s LFI. Former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also ruled out any deal with the hard-left party.

Macron himself said he will wait for the new assembly to have found some “structure” to decide his next move. “In his role as guarantor of our institutions, the president will ensure that the sovereign choice of the French people is respected,” the Elysee said in a statement.


The constitution says Macron cannot call new parliamentary elections for another 12 months. But he can decide who to ask to form a government. Whoever he picks faces a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly, which will convene for 15 days on July 18.

Another possibility is a government of technocrats that would manage day-to-day affairs but not oversee structural changes.

It was not clear the left-wing bloc would support this scenario, which would still require the backing of parliament.


Although the snap elections were meant to give Macron some boost after the EU defeat, but Sunday’s results have shown that far-right is a reality and is stronger than before now, ahead of the 2027 presidential race.

Before the snap election, Macron commanded the largest group in parliament. Now, he will likely have to work with an opposition politician as prime minister. “His authority at home and credibility abroad have been damaged”, according to an article by Politico.

Édouard Philippe, France’s former prime minister and an ally of Macron, said Macron’s gamble had further complicated the situation. “The truth is that none of the political blocs in the assembly has a majority on its own to govern. The dissolution of the assembly, which was intended as a clarification, has instead led to great vagueness,” he said Sunday evening, as quoted by CNN.

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Source: News18

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