News Analysis: France's political class being reshaped by fractured vote

(Xinhua) 13:55, June 21, 2022

PARIS, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The 2022 French legislative elections are redefining France's political class, enabling candidates of different political parties to become deputies in the National Assembly.

The French legislative elections were held on June 12 and 19, when voters elected, out of 6,293 candidates, the National Assembly's 577 members representing the constituencies of the country.

Up to this year, there has always been one political party winning the absolute majority of at least 289 seats at the National Assembly after two rounds of legislative elections.

However, of more than six major parties, none has managed to secure the absolute majority this year.

The outcome of the legislative elections will also have a bearing on the appointment of a prime minister. According to the French Constitution, the prime minister is appointed by the acting president, and the nomination of a prime minister must reflect the political party in absolute majority in the National Assembly.

The French Interior Ministry published early Monday morning the results of the legislative elections, and French President Emmanuel Macron's alliance Ensemble did not have the absolute majority, as they only won 245 seats.

With no political party achieving the absolute majority, Macron's Ensemble will have to negotiate power-sharing with other political parties sitting in the National Assembly.

"Slap" "Hard blow" "Snub" "History Setback" and "Seismic Event" are the terms used by both French and foreign media to refer to the results of Macron's Ensemble not winning the absolute majority.

"This situation constitutes a risk for our country in the view of the challenges we have to face, both on a national and international scale. But we must respect this vote," Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said following the publication of the first results on Sunday evening. She has been in office since May 16.

For Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the left-wing alliance NUPES, winning 131 seats is not what he wanted for NUPES. He needed to have the absolute majority, as he planned during the campaign, to become the next prime minister.

For political scientist Philippe Braud, alliances of political parties play a key role in mitigating or even reversing inequalities.

On Monday, the president of right-wing party Les Republicains, Christian Jacob, warned against having a "coalition or pacte" with the government.

Macron's Ensemble comprises three political parties: La Republique en Marche, renamed Renaissance, led by Macron, MoDem and Horizons, led respectively by Francois Bayrou and Edouard Philippe who were under Macron's first term presidency.

The alliance NUPES was formed after the second round of the presidential election in April. It unifies the left-wing parties in order to, according to Melenchon, counter the far-right parties.

On Monday, Melenchon asked NUPES to become a single left-wing political group in the National Assembly in order to tackle the far-right, but the other parties of NUPES refused this proposal.

Even if candidates stood for elections under the various alliances of NUPES or of Ensemble, each deputy represents their own political party at the National Assembly.

NUPES announced on Monday that they will file a motion of no confidence against the government on July 5 regarding the results of the legislative elections.

For Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally, the result of her party acquiring a historic increase of 89 seats in the National Assembly is significant.

During the legislative elections in 2017, the National Rally, previously named the National Front, already led by Marine Le Pen, only had eight seats in the National Assembly.

After the results of this year's legislative elections, Le Pen celebrated her party's achievement and proclaimed, "Will Emmanuel Macron be able to do what he wants? Absolutely not and it is better this way!"

She announced on Monday that she will resign from the presidency of the National Rally in order to focus on her party's seats at the National Assembly.

Macron won the runoff presidential election in April this year with 58.55 percent of the vote, saying during his victory speech that he noted the political differences in the country and thanked those who have voted for him to fight against the far-right party of Marine Le Pen that gained 41.45 percent of the vote during the second round.

But the results of this year's legislative elections bring forward the political differences of the voters who did not give the absolute majority to President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron, however, had the absolute majority in the National Assembly during his first term.

For political scientist Philippe Braud, the left and right labels given to political parties allow voters to identify the different ideologies and political classes.

The new president of the National Assembly will be elected on June 28 as the sitting president Richard Ferrand, member of Macron's Ensemble, lost the legislative elections on Sunday to a NUPES candidate.

The president of the National Assembly will be elected by secret ballot among the deputies in the National Assembly. 

(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)