December 2, 2022

Analysis: Macron’s centrist plan for French politics has resulted in a land-grab by fringe parties

3 min read

While its central unit, the Ensemble! Took part in the second round of Sunday’s election – winning 245 out of 577 seats – less than the 289 required for an absolute majority.

Macron’s coalition will now try to form a coalition in parliament so that it can legislate.

Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne said Sunday night: “From tomorrow, we will work to build an action-oriented majority. There is no substitute for this alliance to guarantee the stability of our country and implement the necessary reforms.”

These reforms include raising the retirement age and having a pro-business agenda, both of which have faced opposition from the political arena, including protests during Macron’s first term. He also wants to push for greater integration within the European Union and has established himself as the bloc’s de facto leader since former German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped down last year.

Philippe Marlier, a professor of French and European politics at University College London, believes that “Macron will try to govern certain issues through an ad hoc coalition” but points out that opposition parties will want to wait and see. Whether Macron dissolves parliament and “there is another solution. Elections in a year.”

Analysts are already calling Sunday’s election results a major personal failure for the French president – one that could tarnish his legacy.

The Left Alliance NUPES, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, won 131 seats.

When Macron was first elected in 2017, he acted as a relative unknown, leading a political movement that came from nowhere and to the traditional center-left and center-right of France. Used to brush

“Macron’s goal was, in a sense, to depoliticize French politics. He wanted a big center with people on both the left and the right who would try to solve France’s problems with a neutral mind,” said Gerard Arroud. Former Ambassador of France United States, told CNN.

“Instead, there is a realization that the only real alternative to Macron’s centrists are left-wing and right-wing politicians,” he added.

It is difficult to disagree with Araud’s analysis. The second largest political force now sitting in the French National Assembly is the left-wing coalition Ecological and Social People’s Union (NUPES), led by the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The third largest is Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally Party. Le Pen was Macron’s rival in the second round of the presidential election in April, in which he won 41% of the popular vote.

France's far-right party, the National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, finished third with 89 seats.

Orlean Munden, a senior lecturer at the University of Bath who specializes in Europe’s far-right politics and fundamentalism, says Macron’s biggest failure could be to normalize Le Pen and the far-right.

“The idea of ​​a large center that formed a horse’s bridle, which included Macron and the far right and far left in its center, meant that Le Pen could place himself in the NUPES category.” Mundan explains.

Although there are some radicals in the NUPES, including the Millennials themselves, there are also Greens and Socialists, who have been mainstream French parties for years.

Munden says the record number of seats in parliament will allow Le Pen to claim the result “as an effective victory and to give the impression that the far right is closer to power in France and the rest of Europe.” Is happening. ”

There is no doubt that Macron’s 2017 victory was historic. In the world of Bridget and Donald Trump, their centralist, pro-European victory was welcomed by many who feared the perceived political instability around the world.

This victory feels like a long time ago and it is difficult to see what will happen to Macron’s political center when he is no longer in power. Even harder to predict what will happen to those voters who oppose Macron’s departure: could he return to the center of French politics, or move further left and right?

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