After five years of unchallenged control, Macron, known for his top-down approach to power, is considering a new term where he will have to make more compromises.
Ludovic Marine | AFP | Getty Images
France votes on Sunday in high-stakes legislative elections that could deprive centrist President Emmanuel Macron of the absolute majority he needs to rule with a free hand.
Voting begins at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT), with initial screenings expected at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) in an election that could change the face of French politics.
Pollsters predict Macron’s camp will end up with the most seats, but say it is by no means guaranteed to reach the 289 threshold for an outright majority.
Opinion polls also see the far right likely to score its biggest parliamentary success in decades, while a broad left-green alliance could emerge as the biggest opposition group and the Tories find themselves as the kingmakers.
If Macron’s camp fails to secure an absolute majority, it would open a period of uncertainty that could be resolved by a degree of power-sharing between parties unprecedented in France in recent decades – or result in prolonged paralysis and repeated legislative elections. line.
Macron, who wants to push back the retirement age, pursue his pro-business agenda and pursue European Union integration, won a second term in April.
After electing a president, French voters have traditionally used the legislative polls that follow a few weeks later to grant him a comfortable parliamentary majority – with François Mitterrand in 1988 a rare exception.
Macron and his allies could still achieve this.
But the rejuvenated left is facing a daunting challenge, as runaway inflation driving up the cost of living sends shock waves through the French political landscape.
If Macron and his allies miss an outright majority by just a few seats, they could be tempted to poach center-right or conservative lawmakers, officials from those parties have said.
If they miss it by a long shot, they could either seek an alliance with the Conservatives or lead a minority government that will have to negotiate laws on a case-by-case basis with the other parties.
Even if Macron’s camp wins the 289 or more seats it needs to avoid sharing power, it’s likely thanks to his former prime minister Edouard Philippe, who will demand more of a say in what he does. the government.
So after five years of uncontested control, Macron, known for his top-down approach to power, is looking at a new term where he will have to make more compromises.
No poll has shown the left-leaning Nupes led by far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon winning a majority in power – a scenario that could plunge the eurozone’s second-largest economy into an unstable period of cohabitation between a president and a Prime Minister of different political groups.