French elections: Emmanuel Macron loses the legislative elections in France | Opinion
The failure of President Emmanuel Macron inaugurates a very conflictive configuration of the next French National Assembly. Under a high percentage of abstention of 54%, 149 seats —according to the first vote projections— will be occupied by NUPES, 21 by the independent left, 224 by the entire Ensemble (Together) coalition of President Macron; and Marine Le Pen’s party enters the Assembly en masse with 89 deputies (a novelty since 1986). It is a small revolution that is directly inscribed in the steps of the last presidential elections. The three forces (Macron, NUPES, National Rally) dominate the French electoral field.
We are witnessing the end of the populist period for President Macron; he will not be able to claim to rule “at the same time” on the right and on the left; his new position on the political chessboard will force him to enter into an alliance with the Republicans and other right-wing groups, after having tried, sometimes successfully, to weaken them these last five years. On the other hand, with the results of the left (NUPES), French political life returns to its classic parameters, that is, to the left-right confrontation. It is the main success of Jean Luc Mélenchon (France Insoumise): the space on the left will now be sealed for Macron. The cycle that is opening is also a challenge for his former prime minister and (temporary) ally in this election, Édouard Philippe, who clearly advocated a right-wing policy. This shift will make possible, in Parliament, an active complicity with the conservative Republican party, and will help to contain the influence of the extreme right, whose results are particularly remarkable in these elections. The machine of macronismo “neither of the right nor of the left” broke, then, into a thousand pieces.
In the scenario that is configured, other factors also intervene. The president will have to face the war of succession that is predicted for the next presidential elections in 2027. Édouard Philippe is determined to occupy the empty space that Macron will leave, possibly rebuilding a right-wing arc that will encompass an important part of the conservative forces. It is true that the extreme right will work to expand its roots in the national territory. It is clear that his result has been increased by the contribution of Éric Zemmour’s ultra sensitivity and, probably, by a part of the right-wing electorate who voted for the Republicans. The creation of a radical conservative right-wing party that reflects this situation should not be ruled out. It will be the only chance for Marine Le Pen to reach power.
As far as the left bloc is concerned, a permanent parliamentary guerrilla is venturing against the president; however, the NUPES alliance will not be able to act as a homogeneous force because it constitutes a fragile coalition, contradictory and divided on essential issues (EU, ecology, pensions, etc.). Macron’s strategy will focus on increasing the discrepancies, seeking to unbundle the bloc. Mélenchon’s absence from the National Assembly will, in this sense, have disastrous consequences for NUPES, which will suffer from a leadership vacuum.
In short, the electoral cycle has come to an end, and a period of high levels of uncertainty is beginning. In the context of the presidential institutions of the Fifth Republic, the results obtained will define the policy of a Government supported by a strong and weak relative majority, a situation of serious threat, even in the medium term, of dissolution of the Assembly. Barring an unexpected crisis, Macron will probably postpone decision-making on this level, taking advantage of the next European elections in 2024.
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