PARIS: President of France Emmanuel Macron and his allies scrambled Monday to find a way out of a political deadlock after losing their congressional majority, a stunning blow to the president and his reform agenda.
Macron’s Ensemble coalition emerged as the largest party in Sunday’s parliamentary vote, but fell dozens of seats short to retain the absolute majority it has enjoyed for the past five years.
The rise of the far right and the victory of the united left destroyed the dominant position of the deputies of Macron, who for five years supported the president’s policies without fail.
Liberation daily called the result a “slap in the face” for Macron, while conservative Figaro said he was “facing an insurmountable France”.
Macron’s Together coalition won 244 seats, far short of the 289 needed for an overall majority, in a low turnout vote that resulted in an abstention of 53, 77%.
Macron, who has not yet commented on the results, met the charismatic Prime Minister on Monday Elisabeth Borne and two top allies, former prime minister Edouard Philippe and center leader Francois Bayrou.
The election saw the new left-wing coalition NUPES become the main opposition force alongside its allies on 137 seats, according to the Interior Ministry.
But it seems likely that France Unbowed’s coalition of socialists, communists, Greens and hardline leftists will be able to maintain a common goal in the legislature.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of France Unbowed, which runs the union, called its results “quite disappointing” and on Monday proposed making NUPES a permanent left-wing bloc.
He said it would not be a full-blown merger but simply an effective “alternative” force in parliament, although the offer was immediately rejected by three other NUPES parties.
Meanwhile, the far-right under Marine Le Pen had the best legislative record in its history, becoming the strongest single opposition party with 89 seats, up from eight seats in the outgoing chamber.
Le Pen confidently said her party would demand to chair the powerful parliament’s finance committee, as has been the tradition of the largest opposition party.
Le Pen told reporters on Monday: “The country is not unmanageable, but it will not be governed in the way that Emmanuel Macron wants.
Melenchon meanwhile said he would launch a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Borne in early July, as she lays out her policy priorities for the next five years.
Borne, who was elected to parliament in his first political race, could now be vulnerable as Macron faces a new cabinet shake-up after some of his top allies lost seat.
His health and environment ministers have been beaten and traditionally would have to resign, as has Macron’s parliamentary speaker and head of parliamentary group.
“For now, the prime minister is still the prime minister,” the government spokeswoman said Olivia Gregoire the challenge told France Inter radio on Monday.
“My fear is that the country is paralyzed.”
The results tarnished Macron’s presidential election victory in April when he defeated Le Pen, becoming the first French president to win a second term in more than two decades.
“It was a turning point for his invincible image,” said Bruno Cautres, a research fellow at the Po Political Science Research Center.
Options available to Macron include seeking to form a new coalition, passing legislation based on ad hoc agreements, or even calling new elections.
The most likely option would be a coalition with the Republican Party, the traditional party of the French right, which has 61 MPs.
But the president of LR Christian Jacob insisted that his party intended to “stay in the opposition”.
Jean-Daniel Levy of Harris Interactive France told AFP: “We are entering an unprecedented and uncertain time. “There is no deal ready for a government.”
Macron had hoped to end his second term with an ambitious program of tax cuts, welfare reforms and raising the retirement age. All of those are now questions.
A prominent MP from Melenchon’s party, Alexis Corbiere, said Macron’s plan to raise Macron’s retirement age to 65 had now been “sacked”.
In rare news for the president, Europe Minister Clement Beaune and Public Service Minister Stanislas Guerini – both young pillars of his party – have both won tight battles for his seat. me.