Dizzying heat has ravaged France lately, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees in some places. And it’s also hot for President Emmanuel Macron.
The government alliance Together! only received 246 seats, a far cry from the 289 that would have given a majority. And it seems difficult to get along with the opposition parties
– An unprecedented situation which puts our country at risk, declares Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to Figaro.
The National Assembly, a far-right party, is now the second largest party in the country, with 89 seats out of 577. The party, founded in part by neo-fascist groups, has never received so many representatives.
The left-wing Nupes alliance also made a good choice, with 142 seats. The radical left party La France indomptable is at the head of this alliance. They got 72 seats. Another record.
– The traditional party structure has been destroyed, comments Janne Haaland Matlary. She is a professor of political science at the University of Oslo.
The day after
When yellow vests dominated the news in 2018, Canadian commentator Mathieu Bock-Côté gave an oft-quoted description of the French:
– The French are monarchists and royalists. They love the president they want to see as a king, then when things go wrong they chop off his head.
In TV studios, election vigils and on Twitter, opposition politicians are already celebrating the death of the “king”.
– Macron is beaten, he is in the minority. The French don’t want any of his policies, the party’s president in the National Assembly, Jordan Bardella, said last night.
– It’s a totally unexpected situation, totally unprecedented: the president’s party is completely lost, and there is no majority, said Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Macron has yet to comment.
Lack of leeway abroad
Before the election, President Macron was mainly visible abroad. Most recently in Kyiv last week, in a team with German Olaf Scholtz and Italian Mario Draghi.
– The French president is superb when it comes to foreign and security policy. This is also the area in which Macron prefers to occupy himself, explains Matlary.
But abroad, there is not much room for maneuver left for France, analyzes the professor:
– France suffered a very big setback in Mali, where it intervened militarily to support a regime that has now lost power in a coup. The war in Ukraine will continue, at least through the summer, and France’s attempt to establish a line of dialogue with Putin is dead. France is partly on the fringes of security policy, now that it has a very strong Anglo-American leadership.
No domestic “spare wheel”
There are therefore few exits for Macron. If he wants to do anything, he will have to deal with difficult domestic politics, says Matlary:
– Voters have shown that they are most concerned about the economy, and Macron needs the money to implement his reforms. It will be difficult to do anything about it, because it is the National Assembly that decides in this area. There, the government will have to find partners and make compromises.
The conservative Republican Party won 64 seats yesterday and can thus obtain a decisive vote. But party leader Christian Jacob said last night they would not be a “spare wheel” for the government, and were still in opposition.
Matlary thinks France will have to deal with more Norwegian conditions.
– It will be a situation similar to the one we often have in Norway, with a minority government. But the starting point is not good, with a strong polarization and a great protest culture. The French like to have strong debates, but they don’t have the same tradition of compromise that we have in Norway.