PARIS – In a major blow to French President Emmanuel Macron, his centrist coalition was expected to lose its strong majority in the House of Representatives on Sunday, after a crucial election that saw the rise of the far-right and an alliance of left-wing parties. In the number of seats, which leaves him with a narrow margin and complicates his second term.
Projections based on preliminary vote counts gave Macron’s centrist coalition 205 to 250 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower and most powerful House of Representatives – more than any other political group, but less than half of all seats.
For the first time in 20 years, the newly elected president appeared to have failed to muster an absolute majority in the National Assembly, which would not stop Mr Macron’s domestic agenda, but would return power to Parliament after a first term. Mr Macron’s top-down style of governance has often sidelined lawmakers.
The results were a rebuke to Macron, who seemed detached from the campaign and more preoccupied with French diplomatic efforts to support Ukraine in its war against Russia. Speaking on the tarmac by A trip to Eastern Europe took him to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, last weekHe urged voters to give him a “solid majority” for the “higher interest of the nation,” but he himself campaigned few.
“It’s not the outcome we had hoped for,” Gabriel Attal, Macron’s budget minister, told TF1 television on Sunday, acknowledging that his party and its allies would have to “find stability” in parliament if they wanted to. to advance legislation.
Macron’s recently nominated prime minister, Elizabeth Bourne, was expected to win her race, as was Gerald Darmanin, the hard-spoken interior minister. But several of his key allies appear to have lost, including Richard Ferran, the speaker of the National Assembly, and Amelie de Montchalin, the green transition minister – a scathing rebuke to the president, who vowed that cabinet ministers who failed to win would have to resign.
The coalition of left-wing parties, known as the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale, or NUPES, led by left-wing veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon, was expected to win 150 to 190 seats. The coalition includes France Unboyed and Mr. Melenchon’s party, as well as the Socialists, the Greens and the Communists.
It was not enough to seize control of the National Assembly and force Mr Macron to appoint Mr Mélenchon as prime minister, as the left-wing coalition had hoped. But it was a powerful display of parties that were largely written off as hopelessly divided. It was a big part of the campaign face bruises Between the left-wing alliance and Macron’s forces, both sides have described a potential victory for their opponents as a disaster that cannot be mitigated.
Mr Melenchon, in a speech on Sunday to jubilant fans in Paris, described the results as “absolutely stunning”.
“The defeat of the presidential party is complete,” he said. “We have reached the political goal we set for ourselves.”
The coalition he has brought together will be the main opposition force in the National Assembly, but major political differences between coalition members on issues such as the European Union may resurface once Parliament convenes later this month.
In 2017, when Mr Macron was first elected, his party and its allies secured a leading majority of 350 seats in parliament’s lower house, which was mostly in line with his plans.
This time, with a slimmer majority and a much stronger opposition from the left and the far right, Mr Macron’s centrist coalition, known as Ensemble, could struggle to pass certain bills, potentially forcing him to reach down the aisle into the opposition. Lawmakers to secure passage of the bill.
“How the president will be able to govern through his prime minister is somewhat uncertain at the moment,” said Etienne Olyon, a sociologist and professor at the Polytechnic School of Engineering.
It was not immediately clear what other allies Macron’s coalition might find in parliament to form a working majority, although Mr Ollon said the most suitable would be the centre-right Republic Party, which was expected to win 60 to 80 seats. . Mr Macron will rely on his centrist allies much more than he did during his first term, especially to pass controversial projects such as his plan to raise the legal retirement age to 65 from 62.
Sunday’s vote was also marred by a record low turnout, in a warning sign for Macron, who has promised government closer to the people for his second term. Only about 46 percent of French voters went to the polls, according to the forecast, the second lowest level since 1958.
The National Rally, the party of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, was expected to get 75 to 100 seats in the National Assembly, much more than expected after it was disguised. Mr Macron defeated him in the presidential election in April Then he ran a lackluster campaign for the parliamentary campaign.
That would make it the third-largest political force in the House and a far more powerful force than the handful of lawmakers it has so far. Ms. Le Pen herself was easily re-elected to take her seat in a province in northern France.
“This will be the largest group in the history of our political family,” Ms Le Pen said in a speech on Sunday, promising her supporters she would defend the party’s hardline stance on immigration and security.
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