By John Meyer, financial consultant and special envoy to Paris – Eurasia Business News, June 20, 2022.
The results of the second round of the general elections in France on 19th June constituted an institutional earthquake. For the first time in the Fifth Republic (founded in October 1958), the elected president does not have an absolute majority in the National Assembly. This result is the consequence of the personality of the French president, with divisive words, and the policy he has been pursuing since May 2017, dividing the French nation into a dispersed archipelago, according to the level of income.
The political coalition around President Emmanuel Macron, re-elected in April 2022 for a second term, came out ahead in the second round of elections on Sunday 19 June, but it must settle for a relative majority in the National Assembly. This coalition won only 246 seats according to the results published by the Ministry of the Interior, far from the 289 required for an absolute majority.
Parliamentary elections were held on 12 and 19 June 2022. At the end of the election, Together! won a relative majority with 246 seats, while the Nupes (Left coalition) sent 142 deputies to the National Assembly, the National Rally won 89 seats, while the Republicans and the UDI only 64.
This is a “sanction” vote against “the style” Emmanuel Macron, who has often flouted the prerogatives and dignity of Parliament, reduced the means of the state and divided French citizens among themselves, during his previous five-year term. President Macron made decisions, alone, alongside a small circle of faithful, unelected. The head of state has not kept his electoral promise to strengthen the National Assembly. This style of leadership has been punished by the citizens, exasperated by the multiple scandals relating to the very expensive services of Anglo-Saxon consulting firms, the Alstom affair, the Ariane-Espace affair, the return of high inflation. The results of this election call for a long-awaited renewal of the French parliamentary tradition.
The scandal of the consulting firms is perhaps the biggest scandal of the French election campaign. It sheds a harsh light on the relationship between the Macron executive, following other powers in France, with the civil service and especially international consulting firms, whose influence and cost to the taxpayer continues to grow. While the civil service has spent the last few years fighting against the destruction of elementary public services, French citizens have learnt that billions of euros of public money have been spent on the advice of private firms, most of the time to impose on the French policies deemed anti-social.
Another scandal, the Alstom case. On February 10, 2022, Emmanuel Macron announces the purchase by EDF (of which the State is an 84% shareholder) of the “Arabelle” turbines, of which he himself had signed the agreement to sell General Electric to the Americans seven years earlier. Why this backpedaling? Between the abandonment of industrial sovereignty, the waste of public money, social breakdown and conflicts of interest. This state scandal has become one of Emmanuel Macron’s Achilles heels.
The results of June 19 clearly raise the question of the ability of Emmanuel Macron and his deputies to be able to govern the country and to pass the reforms promised to his voters, including that of pensions. The majority will have to forge alliances in order to pass its bills.
French voters are known to choose kings in order to better overthrow them: “On Sunday, they accomplished the feat of pulling the throne under the buttocks of the new king.”
Once all-powerful with his absolute majority in the National Assembly between June 2017 and June 2022, Emmanuel Macron will be forced to negotiate with the opposition, especially with the conservative Republicans (LR), most of whom, fervent Gaullists, are hostile to his policy, considered too Atlanticist.
Marine Le Pen’s “National Rally”, bringing together the patriotic right, will not only receive its parliamentary group in the National Assembly, but will also take third place, with 89 deputies. This is a first since 1988.
Unpopular Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne said President Emmanuel Macron’s LREM party would seek allies to create a majority in parliament. She believes that the results of the elections, following which Mr Macron’s coalition did not obtain an absolute majority, pose a risk to the country.
After five years of governance without countervailing power. The country has an alternative: either learn the culture of consensus – exotic in its presidential system – or be condemned to ungovernability. Emmanuel Macron will have to soften his famous arrogance and seek compromises with the parliamentary opposition. Otherwise, his government may be overthrown by an opposing parliamentary coalition.
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