PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble Alliance has been brought down to earth with a bang after losing its absolute majority in the French National Assembly, just two months after he was celebrating re-election as president.
At the end of the Second Round of elections on Sunday, Macron’s candidates won 245 seats, ahead of the left-wing Socialists and Greens New Ecological and Social People’s Union (Nupes) coalition on 131 seats, and the far-right National Rally which took 89 seats.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said this ‘unprecedented’ situation ‘is a risk to our country faced with challenges at the national level as well as at the international scale.’ Borne, who was only appointed in May, will face ‘a motion of censure’ from Nupes in early July, and her job is not secure having scraped a very narrow win in her own constituency.
Macron now faces the realities of a National Assembly with two hostile opposition groups as he tries to push through ‘reforms’ – including pensions cuts, tax cuts and raising the retirement age – and he’ll need a coalition partner to get these attacks on workers through.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire’s verdict on Macron’s failure to win a majority was: ‘We will have to show a lot of imagination to govern.’
Veteran left-wing socialist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon has now built the NUPES alliance of Socialist and Green parties to challenge and defeat Macron.
Yesterday, two hundred kilometres from Paris, Marine Le Pen, beaten by Macron for the Presidency, was holding her fascist party’s celebration in a bowling alley. When it became clear they had achieved 89 seats in the National Assembly, up from just eight before, supporters cheered ‘Vive Marine,’ and ‘Macron resign!’
Current Prime Minister Borne has spoken of the unprecedented situation that has developed and that President Macron now faces a powerful opposition grouping.
The socialist NUPES leader Mélenchon is shortly to put a vote of no confidence down on the Macron regime.
Macron has to immediately replace three ministers who lost their seats in Sunday’s vote, and the prime minister Borne’s future looks increasingly grim.
Macron’s election defeat has been widely described by commentators as a punch in the face from voters. He is now trying to find a ‘working majority’, either through a coalition or by forging alliances with other MPs on a case-by-case basis.
‘We are going to form a majority very quickly so it becomes absolute in the National Assembly,’ promised Olivier Véran, the minister in charge of parliamentary relations. Government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire said she would extend a hand to ‘all those who want us to move the country forward’.
Macron’s ruling Ensemble Alliance is 44 seats short of the working majority so it will need to find support from MPs from both the left and right. He has laid out a series of plans, among them ‘food vouchers’ to help those who are now on one meal a day thanks to the huge leap in inflation.
Workers know that food vouchers will not resolve the inflationary crisis. The other Macron would-be ‘reform’ is to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. This ‘reform’ is hated from one end of the country to the other.
However, he has one potential ally. Louis Aliot, from Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, said if the government included measures his party wanted, such as a cut in sales tax (VAT), then his parliamentary colleagues would ‘make the effort to vote for those measures’.
Mélenchon is now planning a motion of no confidence against PM Borne in the coming weeks, and his colleague Manuel Bompard has said the government ‘cannot just continue as if nothing has happened’.
Down by 100 or so, Macron, the once all-conquering head of state, will be forced to negotiate with the opposition, notably the conservative Republicans (LR).
LR is willing to cooperate on raising the pension age to 65 – while the trade unions have threatened a general strike if there is any such move.
The official opposition is now the 70-years-old Mélenchon’s NUPES bloc. The real situation is that the world crisis of capitalism, including its massive surging inflation, is driving forward socialist revolutions in many countries including France.
Now is the time to build a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International in France to lead the developing French socialist revolution to its victory as part of the struggle for the Socialist United States of Europe.