- Macron Movement Wins Big In French Parliamentary Elections
The young party of recently elected French president Emmanuel Macron and its centrist ally won about a third of the votes in the first round of the parliamentary elections that also saw boosts for the far-right Front National and the far-left Defiant France.
With less than half of the French turning up to vote, there could still be a surprise in the second round next Sunday provided more people turn up.
Macron’s LREM and the Modem of François Bayrou are set to win 415 to 445 seats out of the 577 in the lower house, which will give him a clear majority to push on with his planned reforms of the economy and job market. While the traditional center-right block of Les Republicains and UDI is seen at 80 to 100 seats (down from 226 now), the Socialist Party falls back to 30-40 seats from 284. Front National could get more than its current two seats and its leader Marine Le Pen stands a chance of getting in, depending on how strong the other parties will team up to keep the FN out.
Macron’s deputies are partly unexperienced in politics, from business or civil organizations, and there will be a big boost to the female component in the house.
While several ministers still have to win their seat on Sunday, and could lose their position it they do not, there is no electoral reason for Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to extend a hand to other personalities from within the right-wing opposition.
The Socialist Party had opted for a more radically left policy by preferring Benoit Hamon as candidate in the presidential elections over former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. It will need to make up its mind whether it wants to remain a small opposition party or reconquer executive power. With the Socialists, Defiant France and communists unable to make a real fist in parliament while many Macron policy proposals were in one way or other present in the platform of the right, the real opposition may be played out in the streets by the trades unions and movements like Defiant France. FN and other right-wing parties could form a small Patriotic front to try to stop immigration flows and further European integration.
But the key labor market reforms that would make it easier to hire people and slash unemployment, will remain hard to implement unless Macron is capable of yet another revolution and succeeds to break up the central negotiations with unions for decentralized negotiations in the corporate sectors.