France’s President May Lose Parliament Majority
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
PARIS (Worthy News) – French President Emmanuel Macron faced a setback Monday, with official results showing he may lose his outright majority in Parliament following a left-wing challenge in Sunday’s elections.
Initial results showed the hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon’s NUPES bloc neck-and-neck with Macron’s Ensemble! alliance in the first round with 26.20% and 25.8%, respectively.
The parliamentary vote was overshadowed by a record-low turnout of below 50 percent, confirming a trend of dwindling interest in legislative elections over the past 20 years.
The unhappy democracy has been linked to public dissatisfaction with politics in France as many voters are lukewarm towards politicians with perceived empty promises.
And, with rampant inflation driving up the costs of living and eroding wages, Macron has struggled to build on his re-election in April. His main rival Melenchon casts him as a free-marketeer more intent on protecting the wealthy than struggling families.
“In view of this result and the extraordinary opportunity it offers us and the destiny of the common homeland, I call on people next Sunday to defeat the disastrous politics of the majority of Macron,” Melenchon said after the vote.
With the two-round system in France‘s 577 constituencies, the popular vote in the first round is perhaps a poor indicator of who will win a majority the following week.
Yet it showed a growing interest in alternative leftist politics, analysts said.
At stake is Macron’s ability to pass his reforms, such as a contested pension reform that would see the French work longer. The centrist leader claims the move is necessary to ensure long-term order in the public finances.
His opponents on the left are pushing to cut the pension age and launch a big spending drive. Melenchon’s bloc has capitalized on anger over surging living costs and Macron’s perceived weakness at connecting with ordinary people.
The war in Ukraine and Macron’s failed attempts to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt the offensive also complicated his reform plans.
On the other side of the political spectrum, far-right leader Marine Le Pen won over 55 percent of the votes in her constituency. But Le Pen will have to face a runoff because of rules on minimum turnout.
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