France’s Macron receives huge blow in parliamentary elections

Fox News reports that the French people, in the recently-held parliamentary elections, decided against giving President Emmanuel Macron a parliamentary majority. 

To secure that majority, Macron and his coalition would have needed to obtain 289 seats.

They only got to 245.

“The victory is yours!”

The surprise result was that of the Nationally Rally (RN), which is the party of Marine Le Pen, the right-wing populist who recently fell short in her presidential bid.

Previously, RN had only managed to obtain eight seats. And, the expectation was that, in this year’s elections, the party would maybe get to somewhere around 25 to 45 seats. But, the party actually ended up receiving a surprising 89 seats – the most in the party’s history.

Le Pen celebrated the news, saying:

This victory is that of the French people. Tonight, they have taken their destiny into their own hands by making Emmanuel Macron a minority president. This victory is yours!

Other results included 131 seats for the hard-left NUPES (New popular ecological and social union), which was expected, and 61 seats for the Republicans.

The bottom line, though, is that Macron will not have a parliamentary majority to support his agenda.

A “seismic event”

France24 explains the current situation in French politics, writing:

A large section of French society admires, even loves Macron – as witnessed by his topping the polls in the first presidential round . . . But Macron is also hated by swathes of French voters to his right and left alike, who regard him as the absolute embodiment of an aloof, callow technocratic establishment. This divide has been the thread running through all the twists and turns of France’s election season.

The outlet quotes Paul Smith, professor of French politics at Nottingham University, as attributing RN’s success to “an anti-Macron bloc.”

“The simple explanation for RN’s success tonight is that this was an anti-Macron bloc,” Smith said. “My suspicion is that, even though [Jean-Luc] Mélenchon said not one of his supporters should vote for Le Pen, quite a lot of them did. It’s clear that hatred of Macron is sufficiently intense for a lot of NUPES voters to be able to vote for RN.”

Whatever the case may be, Smith described RN’s success as a “seismic event” in French politics.

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