PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance is expected to lose its majority despite winning the most seats in the final round of legislative elections on Sunday, while the far-right National Rally appears to have made big wins.
Projections, which are based on partial results, show Macron’s candidates would win between 200 and 250 seats – far fewer than the 289 required to have an outright majority in the National Assembly, the most powerful chamber in France’s parliament.
The situation, unusual in France, should make Macron’s political maneuver difficult if the projections are confirmed.
A new coalition – made up of the far left, socialists and greens – is expected to become the main opposition force with around 150-200 seats.
The National Rally is expected to register a huge increase with potentially more than 80 seats, compared to eight previously. A ballot was held across the country to select the 577 members of the National Assembly.
The strong performance of the National Rally and the left-wing coalition, led by far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, should make it more difficult for Macron to implement the agenda on which he was re-elected in May. including tax cuts and increased pension from France. age from 62 to 65 years old.
National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, who lost to Macron in May’s presidential election, won re-election in her stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont in northern France.
“The Macron adventure is coming to an end,” said Le Pen. The group of National Rally legislators “will be by far the largest in the history of our political family”.
The acting president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, compared his party’s performance to a “tsunami”. “The message tonight is that the French people have made Emmanuel Macron a minority president,” he said on TF1.
“It is the electoral failure of macronism,” said Mélenchon.
The Macron government will still have the ability to govern, but only by negotiating with lawmakers. The centrists could try to negotiate on a case-by-case basis with the centre-left and Conservative party elected officials, with the aim of preventing opposition politicians from being numerous enough to reject the proposed measures.
The government could also occasionally use a special measure provided for by the French Constitution to pass a law without a vote.
Government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire told France 2 that “we’ve had better evenings”.
“It’s a disappointing top position, but still a top position,” she said.
“We are reaching out to everyone who agrees to move this country forward,” she said, referring in particular to the Republican Party, which is expected to have fewer seats than the far right.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who himself won a seat in his constituency in northern France, stressed that Mélenchon “lost his bet” to win the election. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also won a seat in western France.
A similar situation occurred in 1988 under Socialist President François Mitterrand, who then had to seek Communist or centrist support to pass laws.
These parliamentary elections have once again been largely defined by voter apathy – with more than half of voters staying at home.
Audrey Paillet, 19, who voted in Boussy-Saint-Antoine in south-east Paris, was saddened that so few people turned out.
“Some people fought to vote. It’s a shame that most young people don’t do that,” she said.
Macron made a powerfully choreographed appeal to voters earlier this week from the tarmac ahead of a trip to Romania and Ukraine, warning that an inconclusive election, or a hung parliament, would put the nation at risk.
“In these troubled times, the choice you make this Sunday is more crucial than ever,” he said on Tuesday, as the presidential plane waited in the background for a visit to French troops stationed near Ukraine. . “Nothing would be worse than adding French disorder to global disorder,” he said.
Some voters accepted and opposed the choice of candidates for the political extremes who are gaining popularity. Others have argued that the French system, which grants broad power to the president, should give more voice to the multi-faceted parliament and operate with more checks on the presidential Elysee palace and its occupant.
“I’m not afraid of having a more fragmented National Assembly between different parties. I hope for a more parliamentary and less presidential regime, as you can have in other countries,” said Simon Nouis, a voting engineer in southern Paris.
“The disappointment was clear on the evening of the first round for the leaders of the presidential parties,” said Martin Quencez, political analyst at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Macron’s failure to secure a majority could have ramifications across Europe. Analysts predict the French leader will have to spend the rest of his term focusing more on his domestic agenda than his foreign policy. It could mean the end of President Macron, the continental statesman.
Jade Le Deley and Jeffrey Schaeffer contributed to this report.