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Macron loses absolute majority in parliament in ‘democratic shock’

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron attends a news conference with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) on the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 9, 2022.

Lisi Niesner | Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron lost control of the National Assembly in legislative elections on Sunday, a significant setback that might throw the country into political paralysis unless he’s capable of negotiate alliances with other parties.

Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition, which wants to boost the retirement age and further deepen EU integration, was heading in the right direction to find yourself with essentially the most seats in Sunday’s election.

But they can be well wanting absolutely the majority needed to regulate parliament, near-final results showed.

A broad left-wing alliance was set to be the largest opposition group, while the far-right scored record-high wins and the conservatives were more likely to grow to be kingmakers.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the consequence a “democratic shock” and added that if other blocs didn’t cooperate, “this may block our capability to reform and protect the French.”

A hung parliament would require a level of power-sharing and compromises amongst parties not experienced in France in recent many years.

There isn’t any set script in France for a way things will now unfold. The last time a newly elected president did not get an outright majority in parliamentary elections was in 1988.

“The result’s a risk for our country in view of the challenges we’ve to face,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said, while adding that from Monday on, Macron’s camp will work to hunt alliances.

Macron could eventually call a snap election if legislative gridlock ensues.

“The rout of the presidential party is complete and there is no such thing as a clear majority in sight,” hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon told cheering supporters.

Leftwing Liberation called the result “a slap” for Macron, and economic each day Les Echos “an earthquake.”

Alliances?

United behind Melenchon, leftwing parties were seen heading in the right direction to triple their rating from the last legislative election in 2017.

In one other significant change for French politics, far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party could rating a ten-fold increase in MPs with as many as 90-95 seats, initial projections showed. That might be the party’s biggest-ever representation within the assembly.

Initial projections by pollsters Ifop, OpinionWay, Elabe and Ipsos showed Macron’s Ensemble alliance winning 230-250 seats, the left-wing Nupes alliance securing 141-175 and Les Republicains 60-75.

Macron became in April the primary French president in 20 years to win a second term, as voters rallied to maintain the far-right out of power.

But, seen as out of touch by many citizens, he presides over a deeply disenchanted and divided country where support for populist parties on the best and left has surged.

His ability to pursue further reform of the euro zone’s second-biggest economy hinges on winning support for his policies from moderates outside his alliance on each the best and left.

Moderates?

Macron and his allies must now resolve whether to hunt an alliance with the conservative Les Republicains, who got here fourth, or run a minority government that can have to barter bills with other parties on a case-by-case basis.

“There are moderates on the benches, on the best, on the left. There are moderate Socialists and there are people on the best who, perhaps, on laws, can be on our side,” government spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire said.

Les Republicains’ platform is more compatible with Ensemble than other parties. The 2 together have a probability at an absolute majority in final results, which requires a minimum of 289 seats within the lower house.

Christian Jacob, the pinnacle of Les Republicains, said his party will remain within the opposition but be “constructive”, suggesting case-by-case deals somewhat than a coalition pact.

The previous head of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, and Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon lost their seats, in two major defeats for Macron’s camp.

Macron had appealed for a robust mandate during a bitter campaign held against the backdrop of a war on Europe’s eastern fringe that has tightened food and energy supplies and sent inflation soaring, eroding household budgets.

Melenchon’s Nupes alliance campaigned on freezing the costs of essential goods, lowering the retirement age, capping inheritance and banning firms that pay dividends from firing staff. Melenchon also calls for disobedience towards the European Union.

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