French President Emmanuel Macron may find himself without a ruling majority in his second term and deprived of the ability to push through a program of economic reform without a new left-wing alliance doing well in Sunday’s first round of voting.
The second round, which will outline the final situation, will take place this Sunday, June 19. Here are three possible results:
Frightened by growing warnings about Jean-Luc Melanchon’s left-wing radical platform, voters voted for more than 289 Macron-backed parliamentary candidates.
He will be free to implement his program, which includes contested pension reform. However, it will hardly be as easy for the president to pass legislation in parliament as it was during his first term.
His former prime minister, Edouard Philippe, believed to be harboring presidential ambitions, has set up his party, which is officially part of Macron’s majority. He is now likely to seek the floor on legislation, pushing for a more conservative policy on pensions and the general government deficit. for example.
With a strong majority, even a small contingent of MPs can help Philip become the balancer during Maron’s second term.
Parliament of parity
Macron’s coalition fails to reach the 289-member mark and does not have a majority, although it will be the largest party in parliament.
This is an unusual development for the Fifth Republic and there is no institutional rule to follow to build a coalition. In countries such as Belgium or the Netherlands, there are much clearer rules and traditions in assembling coalition governments.
Macron may need to liaise with other parties (probably the center-right Republicans, Les Republicains, or LR) to form a coalition. This may include offering prominent cabinet positions to LR competitors and adjustments to the management program in exchange for parliamentary support.
He could also try to attract lawmakers individually and offer them some kind of bonus to encourage them to leave their party line.
If it fails, Macron may be forced to negotiate a majority bill by bill, negotiating the support of the center-right for his economic reforms, for example. At the same time, it will try to gain support from the center-left for some social reforms.
This would slow down the pace of reforms and could lead to a political stalemate in a country where consensus building and coalition work are not embedded in political culture.
But the president may still have a few hidden goats. He can still call for new early elections at any time, for example. Or use Article 49.3 of the constitution, which threatens new elections if a bill is not approved.
Surveys show that the most likely outcome is for a parity parliament.
Melanchon again managed to disprove sociological predictions, and his NUPES union won a majority. According to the French constitution, Macron must nominate a prime minister who has the support of the lower house. “Coexistence” follows.
But Macron is not obliged to elect the man nominated by the majority as prime minister. But if he refuses to nominate Melanchon, there will almost certainly be a fierce power struggle with parliament, with the new majority likely to reject any other candidate proposed by the president.
Cohabitation will leave Macron with several levers in his hands and change his reform agenda. The president will retain the leading role in foreign policy, and will negotiate international treaties, but will cede to the government most day-to-day policy and governance decisions.
In post-war France, there are several previous periods of coexistence. They usually led to institutional tensions between the president and the prime minister but were surprisingly popular with the electorate.
Studies show that this is the least likely of the three scenarios.
Macron won the first round of parliamentary elections in France by 0.1%
The Together coalition, led by French President Emmanuel Macron, won 25.75% of the vote in the first round of parliamentary elections, defeating 0.09% in the New People’s Environmental and Social Union, led by left-wing leader Jean-Luc Melenchon (25.66%).
This is shown by the results of the processing of 100% of the bulletins of the Interior Ministry, quoted by Reuters. Marin Le Pen’s National Association ranks third with 18.67% of the vote.
The three formations will take part in the runoff next Sunday. The other parties did not qualify for the second round, as they did not receive the required minimum of 12.5% to participate in the runoff.
More than half of the voters (52.48%) did not participate in the vote and the turnout was 47.52% – a record low.
Although Marcon’s alliance is in a good position to secure the largest number of seats, major sociological institutes warn that the president may still lose control of parliament in the last round of voting.
Various opinion polls show between 250 and 300 seats in the 577-seat parliament for Together, while the left will secure 170-220 seats, a large increase from 2017. Le Pen will also increase his presence in parliament, despite more poor performance compared to the presidential election, when it garnered 40% of French preferences.
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