Macron set to lose parliamentary majority

Monday, Jun 20, 2022

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron’s allies were set to lose their majority in parliament after elections on Sunday, dealing a major blow to the centrist leader and his second-term programme, projections from five polling firms showed.

Macron’s "Ensemble" (Together) coalition was on track for 200-260 seats, short of the 289 needed for a majority in the National Assembly. The left-wing NUPES alliance was set to win 149-200 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally made major gains and was on course for 60-102 seats.

The run-off election was decisive for Macron’s second-term agenda following his re-election in April, with the 44-year-old needing a majority to secure promised tax cuts and welfare reform and raise the retirement age.

His "Together" coalition was on course to be the biggest party in the next National Assembly, but on 200-260 seats well short of the 289 seats needed for a majority, according to a range of projections by five French polling firms. If confirmed, the results would severely tarnish Macron’s April presidential election victory where he defeated the far-right to be the first French president to win a second term in over two decades.

The new left-wing coalition NUPES under 70-year-old hard-left figurehead Jean-Luc Melenchon was on course to win 149-200 seats. The coalition, formed in May after the left suffered a debacle in April presidential elections, groups Socialists, the hard-left, Communists and greens.

The left only had 60 seats in the outgoing parliament, meaning they could triple their representation. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party was on track for huge gains after having only eight seats in the outgoing parliament.

It was due to send 60-102 MPs to the new parliament, according to the projections. Falling short of the majority would force Macron into tricky partnerships with other parties on the right to force through legislation.

There could now potentially be weeks of political deadlock as the president seeks to reach out to new parties. The most likely option would be an alliance with -- or poaching MPs from -- the Republicans (LR), the traditional party of the French right who are on track to win 40-80 seats. The nightmare scenario for the president -- the left winning a majority and Melenchon heading the government -- appears to have been excluded.

It has been 20 years since France last had a president and prime minister from different parties, when right-winger Jacques Chirac had to work with a Socialist-dominated parliament under premier Lionel Jospin.

Meanwhile, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen hailed a historic result for her party in parliamentary elections on Sunday, saying it would send "by far" its highest number of MPs to the next National Assembly.

"This group will be by far the biggest in the history of our political family," Le Pen told cheering supporters in her political fiefdom in northern France, Henin-Beaumont. Hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called Sunday´s results "above all an electoral failure" for President Emmanuel Macron as he spoke to supporters in Paris.