Thursday

21st Mar 2019

Low turnout but big majority ahead for Macron

  • Macron's party could get more than 400 MPs out of 577. (Photo: Reuters)

The party of the new French president came ahead in Sunday's first round of the legislative elections and could get more than 400 MPs out of 577.

French president Emmanuel Macron can expect a wide majority in the National Assembly, France's lower house, despite low voter turnout in the first round of the legislative elections on Sunday (11 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

His Republic On the Move party (LRM) came first with 32 percent, ahead of the conservative Republicans (21%) and the radical left Unbowed France party (14%). The far right National Front got just under 14 percent, and the Socialist Party around 13 percent.

Sunday's results suggest that Macron's party could end up with between 415 and 455 seats out of 577 after next week's run-off.

The Republicans can expect 70 to 110 seats. The Socialist Party, which was the majority party in the outgoing assembly, would get only 20 and 30 seats. Unbowed France would have eight to 18 seats and the National Front (FN) between one and five MPs.

"The message of the French people is without ambiguity," prime minister Edouard Philippe said on Sunday evening.

He said that "millions" of voters "confirmed their attachment to the president's project for renewal, gathering and reconquest".

"Since last month, France is back", he added.

If next Sunday's vote confirms the first round, Macron will have almost no opposition in parliament, with the traditional main parties struggling to have their voices heard.

The main victim of the vote is the Socialist Party of Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande. Its leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis as well as its candidate for the presidential election earlier this year, Benoit Hamon, were eliminated in the first round.

"It is not healthy that a president who gathered 24 percent of votes in the first round of the presidential election has a monopoly in the assembly," Cambadelis said, referring to Macron's score in April.

If it is not able to get 30 MPs elected next week, the PS would not be able to form a group in the assembly and would not have any influence during the next five years.

After a record 10.6 million votes in the presidential run-off, the National Front will get only a handful of MPs. Its leader Marine Le Pen blamed other parties which "support each other" to beat FN candidates.

Le Pen, who got 46 percent in Henin-Beaumont, in northern France, could be elected and leave the European Parliament, where a procedure is under way to strip her of her immunity over a fake jobs case.

But while Macron's LRM party is pushing traditional parties into irrelevance, it is not getting a strong mandate from French voters.

 Only 48.8 percent of registered voters cast their ballot on Sunday, the lowest turnout in French modern politics.

PM Philippe admitted the "demobilisation" of voters but said that it was because the "presidential election "ended the debate" about France's political direction and that "some political forces were unable to find new energy" after the presidential vote.

Francois Baroin, the campaign leader for the Republicans party, noted that "the level of abstention … demonstrates the persistence of divides in French society".

He said that a "reaction is indispensable" in order to have a "balanced power" in the assembly.

Macron looking for a parliament majority

The new French president's party is expected to come ahead in the first round of the legislative elections on Sunday and win a large majority in the run-off.

Anti-Macron leaks try to sway French election

Thousands of documents, some likely fake, were spread by WikiLeaks as well as pro-Trump and pro-Russia social media in the final moments of the French campaign.

Analysis

Macron faces challenges after foretold victory

French president is expected to win a three-fifths majority in parliament on Sunday, but he will have to manage an unruly group of MPs in a socially unstable country.

News in Brief

  1. EPP proposes suspension for Orban's Fidesz
  2. May asks for Brexit extension until 30 June
  3. Juncker: Brexit decision unlikely this week
  4. North Macedonia EU-membership talks set for June
  5. EU ups benefits rights for mobile workers
  6. Chinese leader visits Italy, France as Rome joins 'Silk Road'
  7. EU agrees to sanction political parties breaching data rules
  8. EPP votes Wednesday on future of Orban's party

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  2. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  3. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  4. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  5. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  6. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance
  7. EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech
  8. May to seek Brexit extension amid UK 'constitutional crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us