Majority in Hand, France’s Macron Gets to Work

June 19, 2017

Geopolitical Monitor

Macron2015, cc Wikicommons Pablo Tupin-Noriega (Wikimedia France), modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sommet_%C3%A9co_franco-chinois-1927.jpg

 

Summary

Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche movement has captured 351 out of 577 seats in France’s parliamentary elections.

On the surface, the sweeping victory gives Macron the mandate necessary to institute major reforms, the kind needed to kick-start France’s economy and make it more competitive globally and within the EU. The former and now historically unpopular president Francois Hollande tried to do just that, and was met with fierce resistance from organized labor – the very interests he claimed to represent as leader of the French Socialist Party.

President Macron could well slam into the same wall. Looking beyond the feel-good story of the moment, there are three key factors to keep in mind: Macron took just 24% of the vote in the first round; his parliamentary majority owes itself in large part to an abysmal turnout of 43% (particularly low in poorer areas); and his policies would seem to do nothing to alleviate the apathy and anger of France’s anti-establishment voters (represented by Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon).

 

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