The second round of the French National Assembly elections took place on June 19. The presidential bloc “Together!” failed to maintain an absolute majority in parliament. The Macronists won only 245 seats, ahead of the left-wing coalition Nupes and its allies (131 seats) and the National Union of Marine Le Pen (89 seats)
While five years ago Macron led a record number of his associates into the lower house of parliament and secured an outright majority, he now stands at the brink of defeat.
In the first round, the pro-presidential Together bloc, which comprises Macron’s Renaissance party, centrists from the Democratic Movement and a small Horizons party, beat the left-wing coalition New People’s Environmental and Social Union, created by the 70-year-old head of the Unconquered France party Jean-Luc Melanchon together with the Communists, Socialists and Greens by a tiny fraction of a percent.
The day after the tabulation of the results of the first round, accusations of fraud were made by the opposition. The scandal was hushed up, but voters lost interest in voting for the legislative body of the Fifth Republic. The second round of parliamentary elections saw a record low turnout, with just over 38 per cent of eligible voters showing up at the ballot box.
The main sensation of the second round was Marine Le Pen’s “historic breakthrough”, writes Le Parisien.
“It is a victory on an unprecedented scale that even the most optimistic leaders of the Rassemblement Nationale (RN) dared not hope for,” Le Figaro notes.
For the first time in nearly forty years, the RN gains the right to create its own party faction, becoming the second largest opposition group in the National Assembly.
“We have achieved our three objectives: to make Emmanuel Macron a minority president, to continue a serious political restructuring and to triumph over the idea of saving the nation,” Marine Le Pen said on the evening of 19 June.
Eric Zemmour’s Reconquista party did not win a single seat in parliament: voters managed to work out that the former journalist was a political spoiler targeted by the Rothschilds to take votes away from Marine Le Pen.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne said the loss by the presidential coalition Together! of a majority of seats in the National Assembly in the second round of the election was a danger to the country (un risque pour notre pays). She called the results of the vote unprecedented, but she said the results must be respected and “conclusions must be drawn”. Bourne said that from 20 June, work would begin “on creating an active majority”.
In fact, the work of the presidential team to forge the parliamentary coalition needed to achieve an outright majority had already begun days before the second round. According to Reuters, citing a government source, Macron had secretly contacted the head of the Senate, veteran centrist Republican party Gérard Larcher, and tried to “pave the way for such a scenario”. However, after the results of the second round were tallied, senior functionaries of the Republicans (the party won 61 seats in the National Assembly) poured “a gusher of cold water” (Reuters) on the idea of such a coalition.
Macron is facing an “ungovernable France”, Le Figaro summarises. The publication’s editor-in-chief, Alexis Breset, writes that the second round of parliamentary elections is “very much like a referendum against Macron”, among whose fundamental mistakes he cites the French president’s “Ukrainian escapade” as “sewn with white threads”. Macron tried to weaken the left and the right, but it is they who “have become more powerful than ever”, which makes Macron’s new presidential term seem “stillborn” (quinquennat mort-né).
Macron’s entourage called the results of the parliamentary elections “disappointing”. Macron’s failure is evident even to his fellow party members. The ranks of the presidential party “Forward, Republic”, which was formed under Macron, are thinning before their eyes. Not so long ago the party had 418,000 members and now it has fewer than 20,000.
After the corruption scandals of his predecessors (Sarkozy and Hollande) Macron promised a “moralisation of political life”, but only a promise. “Five of his ministers are under investigation and twelve others are implicated in various crimes,” writes L’Humanite.
Jean-Luc Mélanchon welcomed the “defeat of the presidential party” after the second round of the election, and did not hide his joy. Although he did not achieve a parliamentary majority, his coalition of left-wing forces has become the leading opposition grouping. “This is a totally unexpected situation, totally unheard of. The defeat of the presidential party is total… We have achieved the political goal we set ourselves: to overthrow someone who has so arrogantly perverted the course of the whole country, being elected [president] and not knowing what to do,” said Melanchon.
Macron has failed domestically, staging endless lockdowns during the “pandemic”. He has effectively sold out France to American capital by bringing the largest investment fund Black Rock into the country, earning him the nickname “President Black Rock France”, Alesia Miloradovich of the Paris Academy of Geopolitics said in an interview with the FSK.
In foreign policy, Macron’s failure is equally clear. France has lost its former influence, it is hardly listened to at the international level. Macron is ignored by the US, which has snatched a gigantic submarine construction contract from France for Australia.
He is bending over backwards in vain to earn his reputation as the “reformer of Europe”. Brussels makes decisions without asking him. “Everyone seems to have got it: little Emmanuel is talking to himself in a fit of narcissism and unraveling his tail like a peacock in front of the mirror, causing underlying laughter behind his back to those around him,” writes L’Humanite.
But the coalition of the left has no intention of forming a united parliamentary group, and this will weaken Jean-Luc Melanchon. An ad hoc alliance between the Rassemblement Nationale of Marine Le Pen and the Republicans is likely to bring them 150 votes in the National Assembly and move them into first place among the opposition parliamentary parties.
The main outcome of the French elections was the widespread disenchantment of the French with compromised political institutions and elites. Among the heads of the Fifth Republic who have failed to live up to people’s expectations is now Macron.
Vladimir Prokhvatilov, FSK
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