Tuesday June 21, 2022

Macron faces challenge at home

Macron faces challenge at home

Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble party failed to reach the absolute majority mark in the parliamentary elections, winning 245 seats in a House of 577, and falling short of the 289 seats needed to get majority.

Unsurprisingly, the far right and far left parties made enough gains, and Macron is caught between the devil and deep sea of situation. In the April presidential election, he was able to rally the majority vote, 57 per cent, to keep the far right of Le Marie Pen out of the Elysee Palace.

But with his reformist economic agenda, he is at loggerheads with the left. Le Pen’s National Rally party made its maximum gains for the first time.

Nupes, the left bloc led by hard-left Jean-Luc Melenchon, emerged as the main opposition force.

Said Melenchon, “The rout of the presidential party is complete, and no clear majority is in sight. It is the failure of Macronism and the moral failure of those who lecture us.” The Left seems to feel morally validated. Clementine Autain, a top lieutenant of Melenchon said, “This is a gathering of the forces for a social and ecological transformation on the basis of a profound change of society.”

The outcome analysts are sounding a dour note. Said Philippe Gudin of Barclays, “Such a fragmented parliament will likely result in political deadlock, with a much slower reform agenda, possibly leading to vote of no confidence and/or dissolution of the National Assembly over the coming year.

This will likely weaken France’s position in Europe and endanger the country’s fiscal position, which is already weak.”

Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann said, “The hope that some foreign exchange traders placed in Macron in 2017 evaporated sometime back, so that election victories or defeats do not play a major role for the euro exchange rates any longer.”

Government spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire conceded the government is in a difficult position. “It’s going to be complicated. We’re going to have to be creative. What I fear most is that this country be blocked.”

She also expressed the hope that it is possible to bring all the moderates together. She said, “On the right and left, there are moderates, Socialist moderates…there are people who on some draft legislation they will be beside us. It’s an open hand to all those who want to make the country move forward.”

The Nupes, the umbrella left coalition, has many disparate partners including the far left La France Insoumise (LFT) of Melenchon, the Socialist Party, the Greens, and Communists, and they have all come together for the first time in 20 years. There are differences among, like some are opposed to nuclear power, while there are others who are for it.

Macron favours nuclear power. Corinne Narassiguin of the Socialists said, “Like in other coalitions in Europe, we will agree on points and have points of difference. It is an experiment, it is the first time that we’ve had a group elected as an inter-group and it is our responsibility to voters (to keep it together).”

Macron will have a tough time because he wants to increase the retirement age while the leftists want it to be lessened. The French president also favours greater integration with Europe, greater role for the private enterprise.

He may have to trim many of his goals and put aside some of them altogether. But the economy can turn out to be a stumbling block. There are no easy solutions, and the left is not always right when it opposes privatization. European politics in general have become more complicated, some might call it more nuanced. Even if there is another election next year, the voter’s preference would be as difficult as it has been this time round.

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