PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron’s alliance got the most seats in the final round of the parliamentary election on Sunday, but it lost its parliamentary majority, projections show.
The projections, which are based on partial results, show that Macron’s candidates would win between 200 and 250 seats — much less than the 289 required to have a straight majority at the National Assembly, France’s most powerful house of parliament.
The situation, which is unusual in France, is expected to make Macron’s political maneuvering difficult if the projections are borne out.
A new coalition — made up of the hard left, the Socialists and the Greens — is projected to become the main opposition force with about 150 to 200 seats.
Projections indicate that National Rally, a far-right organization, will experience a massive surge in membership with 80 potential seats. This is up from the eight previously.
Polls are being held nationwide to select the 577 members of the National Assembly, the most powerful branch of France’s Parliament.
The strong performance of the leftist coalition, led by hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon’s coalition, is expected to make it harder for Macron to implement the agenda he was reelected on in May, including tax cuts and raising France’s retirement age from 62 to 65.
Macron’s government will still have the ability to rule, but only by bargaining with legislators. The centrists could try to negotiate on a case by case basis with lawmakers from the center-left and from the conservative party — with the goal of preventing opposition lawmakers from being numerous enough to reject the proposed measures.
Sometimes, the government might also use an exception provided by French Constitution in order to pass a law that does not require a vote.
Similar circumstances occurred in 1988 under Socialist President Francois Mitchellnd. He then needed to get support from the Communists and the centrists to make laws.
These parliamentary elections have once again largely been defined by voter apathy — with over half the electorate staying home.
Audrey Paillet (age 19), cast her ballot at Boussy-Saint-Antoine.
“Some people have fought to vote. It is too bad that most of the young people don’t do that,” she said.
Macron made a highly choreographed appeal for voters from the tarmac earlier in the week ahead of a trip in Romania and Ukraine. Warning that an unconclusive vote or hung parliament would be dangerous,
“In these troubled times, the choice you’ll make this Sunday is more crucial than ever,” he said Tuesday, with the presidential plane waiting starkly in the background ahead of a visit to French troops stationed near Ukraine. “Nothing would be worse than adding French disorder to the world’s disorder,” he said.
Some voters agreed and opposed the choice of candidates from extreme political parties who are gaining popularity. Some others argued that France’s system of giving broad power to presidents should be expanded to give greater voice to multifaceted parliament members and to ensure more oversight over the Elysee palace, the president and the occupant.
“I’m not afraid to have a National Assembly that’s more split up among different parties. I’m hoping for a regime that’s more parliamentarian and less presidential, like you can have in other countries,” said Simon Nouis, an engineer voting in southern Paris.
“The disappointment was clear on the night of the first round for the presidential party leaders,” said Martin Quencez, political analyst at The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Macron’s failure to get a majority could have ramifications across Europe. Analysts believe that Macron will spend his remaining term more focused on domestic issues than foreign policies. The end for President Macron could be in sight.
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