After the first round of the parliamentary elections in France, President Macron’s party En Marche! gained 32.3% of the vote. The conservative Republicans garnered 21% in Sunday’s vote, while Marine Le Pen’s “National Front” came third with 13%. According to Valdai Club expert Yuri Rubinsky, what the election results demonstrate is not just the victory of Macron’s party, but collapse of the others.
The success of Macron’s party was predetermined by several factors. “It is not as much the victory of his party or even his personal victory, as collapse of others. First, this is collapse of traditional parties, especially the socialists who have been in power over the past five years. The party has in fact disintegrated into pitiful remnants. It will have 20-30 deputies legislators out of 577 at best. The center-right Republicans will retain half of the seats. As for the rest, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s “Unbowed France” and Marine Le Pen’s National Front will have a maximum of 5-6 seats, less than you need to create a parliamentary group of 15 seats. Macron’s fledgling party, which emerged a year ago as a political movement, will have the vast majority of 400 seats. Nobody believed this, but now facts have confirmed it”, Rubinsky told valdaiclub.com.
Almost half of the new Parliament will consist of new legislators. According to Yuri Rubinsky, this is a new phenomenon. “This has not happened since 1958, since the establishment of de Gaulle’s Fifth Republic. Macron’s party and he himself were given a certain credit of trust, because more than half of voters did not go to the polls. Nothing of this kind has ever happened in the Fifth Republic’s history, perhaps, never in the parliamentary elections”, the expert said. “Who did not turn up? Those who voted for Macron’s opponents: we lost, so why vote if everything is already clear”. As one of Macron’s colleagues said: “We have gained one third of one half”. This is a limited mandate.
Now Macron is supposed to deliver certain results. “The question is the upcoming reforms, which he announced and which will be held in the near future. He needs to introduce a major reform in July – a revision of the labour code. This is a controversial issue. With the support of the Parliament, he will be able to implement it. However, he claims that he will not allow any revision of the reform under the pressure of the street,” Rubinsky said.
As he was discussing the probable results of the elections’ second round, the expert stressed that the Socialist party is out of the game and this is an unprecedented situation. “The opposition, the Republicans, will get around a hundred seats. They are divided into those who are ready to cooperate with the new majority and those who are willing to dictate their terms. Strange as it may seem, the opposition will be either within the ruling party or outside of the Parliament, Rubinsky concluded.