Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has dropped his majority in the National Assembly after voters rejected his pro-business program in the country’s parliamentary elections, giving the far-left and far-right leadership a chance to exercise sweeping powers.
President Macron has to contend with a defiant left and a resurgent far-right after the recently appointed French president for the first time in 20 years was unable to secure an absolute majority in Parliament.
The Renaissance party and its supporters won 245 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, according to the results. He now has the most seats in the lower house of the French parliament, but not enough to keep the majority that enabled the French president to crush the opposition in his first term.
The far-left coalition led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose party joined forces with the socialists, communists, and greens in France, gained 131 seats. The conservative Les Républicains and its partners gained 61 votes, compared to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally’s 89.
Although low by historical standards, the turnout of 46 percent was higher than the 42.6 percent in the second round in 2017.
Just two months after he was reelected with a double-digit margin, Mr. Macron has received a shocking setback thanks to the far-right and Mr. Mélenchon’s forces winning a significant number of parliamentary seats. No coalition led by Mr. Mélenchon or Ms. Le Pen’s anti-immigrant National Rally has ever had as many seats.
The election findings also suggest how Mr. Macron’s political health is being affected by the conflict in Ukraine and its effects on French fuel and food costs.
Mr. Macron will have a difficult time securing enough parliamentary votes to implement his pro-business program, which includes proposals to raise the retirement age, without a strong majority.
A government spokesperson said on Sunday that the administration is prepared to collaborate with anyone who wants to move the nation forward.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stated, “We are confronting a democratic shock.”
Typically, freshly elected presidents ride the coattails of contenders from his party to power. 350 seats in Parliament were won by Mr. Macron’s party and supporters in 2017. However, Mr. Macron’s pro-business policies during the past five years—from his easing of labor rights to his reductions in job benefits—have turned off a lot of voters, especially on the left.
Voters who have been severely impacted by inflation responded favorably to Mr. Mélenchon’s promise to restrict increases in the price of necessities and the minimum wage. In order to prevent leftist candidates from running against one another, as they did in the presidential election, Mr. Mélenchon also managed France’s leftist parties by dividing up regions.
Fabrice Vely, a 47-year-old street cleaner in a suburb of Paris who voted for Mr. Mélenchon’s candidate, stated that his main issue was inflation. Mr. Vely claims he not anymore has the money to purchase sausages and has switched to using a nicotine fix in place of purchasing cigarettes. Except for our pay, he said, “Everything is rising.”
A French president has presided over a government without a clear majority in the National Assembly before. Following the reelection of socialist president François Mitterrand, the Socialist Party gained 275 seats in the 1988 legislative elections, falling shy of the 289 members required for an absolute majority. Nevertheless, by bargaining with MPs on the far-left and center-right, his prime minister, Michel Rocard, was able to enact legislation.
Mr. Macron might reach an agreement with Les Républicains and permit some of its supporters to serve in his administration.
Elisabeth Borne, the recently appointed prime minister in Mr. Macron’s administration, intends to reduce the impact of record inflation by decreasing taxes and putting up fresh proposals targeted at boosting the purchasing power of the French people.
The government intends to raise the wages of civil servants, adjust pensions to inflation, and permit businesses to give their staff tax-free bonuses up to €6,000 ($6,313). Additionally, it will provide low-income families with checks to help them buy groceries and assist those who must travel to work with their gasoline expenses. According to Ms. Borne, these initiatives will be paid for by economic growth, declining unemployment, and a rise in the retirement age.
Thanks to a $28 billion program of policies that includes a restriction on electricity and energy prices as well as a fuel subsidy, France has so far been able to keep inflation below that of the majority of other European nations. In May, French inflation reached a new high. According to the French Statistics Agency Insee, consumer prices increased 0.7 percent for a 12-month inflation rate of 5.8 percent, up from 5.4 percent in April.
The nation is still on edge, though, and Mr. Macron has long been criticized for being disconnected from the working- and middle-class. A rise in fuel costs three years ago sparked a string of demonstrations around the nation, with protesters sporting yellow high-visibility vests. The protests turned into riots that broke through Champs-Élysées Avenue, destroying shops, torching cars, and vandalizing the Arc de Triomphe.