France is all set to experience a new revolution, as President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! has won majority in the Parliament.
Together, En Marche! and its coalition partner Republic on the Move (REM) secured 49.1% of the vote in the second round of the Parliamentary Elections, equating to 60.7% of the seats in the National Assembly. Soon after Macron’s centrist parliamentary coalition claimed a landslide 350 seats out of a total of 577, the president reappointed Edouard Philippe as prime minister. Describing Sunday’s Parliamentary Election as a new beginning for France, the 39-year-old president said that the ruling coalition would pursue a pro-EU, business-friendly agenda.
The outcome of the June 18 Parliamentary Polls narrates the current political scenario in France, as the conservative opposition – the Republicans – managed to win just 130 seats with their allies. The Socialist Party of Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande lost more than 250 seats, obtaining just 30.
En Marche!’s commanding majority in the 577-seat Assembly can also be described as a grand slam of electoral success, with majority of French people favouring a centrist, pro-reform and business-friendly government in Paris. Although President Macron has the requisite mandate to push through reforms in order to overhaul the burdensome French welfare state, he should be prepared to face tough challenges.
The only thing that dims the En Marche! victory is a record low voter turnout. The turnout, at less than 45% of registered voters, was the lowest for the second round of a Parliamentary Election in the history of Fifth French Republic established in 1958. However, a section of political analysts argues that some people decided to enjoy the weekend on an election day because they were confident that Macron’s party would win the polls. These people back their president’s attempt to renovate and overhaul the French political system. Others explain that the French people’s disillusionment with traditional parties, both right and left, was the main reason behind low voter turnout.
The global community should thank France for charting a positive political path at a time when the Anglo-Saxon world is looking for comfort in nostalgia-driven populist politics. As Brexit talks have just begun, an open and economically stronger France will be a huge asset for the European Union (EU). Macron’s decision to overhaul labour rules, ease hiring and firing policy, cut public-sector overhang and invest heavily in jobs training will certainly boost the French economy in the coming months.
In case German Chancellor Angela Merkel manages to secure another term later this year, she and Macron will definitely try to make Germany and France the ‘most reliable’ pillars of the modern Europe. Before that, Macron and his En Marche! should work hard for the development of France and encourage Germans to re-elect Merkel. The French president has successfully navigated the anti-establishment wave. Now, he should offer a message of hope to the Germans.
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