French president Emmanuel Macron’s new party, La République En Marche (LREM), is set to take an absolute majority in the national assembly after securing 32.2 per cent of votes in the first round of legislative elections on Sunday. That will translate into a majority of up to 440 seats out of 577 in the assembly in the second round next Sunday.
But Mr. Macron’s second victory, just a month after he became France’s youngest president, was lessened by record abstention of 50.2 per cent. In their reactions, Mr. Macron’s opponents focused on the high abstention rate and pleaded with to supporters to mobilize strongly over the coming week.
The extreme right-wing Front National (FN), whose figurehead Marine Le Pen won 34 percent of the vote in the presidential run-off on May 7th, won only 14 percent of the vote on Sunday, which will give the party between three and 10 seats in the National Assembly.
Francois Baroin, who is leading LR’s legislative campaign, noted that abstention has never been so high since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958. LR won 21.5 percent of the vote on Sunday, which will translate to between 85 and 125 seats in the assembly.
Untangling the Promises
Macron wants numerous things that are are going to cause huge problems elsewhere.
- Macron wants a common European budget and Eurobonds. Both are non-starters with Germany.
- He supports intervention in Syria, a huge policy error.
- He wants to get rid of 120,000 to 500,000 public jobs. That’s a good start, but it will have the socialists and unions howling.
- He supports cutting corporate taxes, also a good idea, but that too will have the progressives howling.
- Macron proposes a $54 billion stimulus package of which $16 billion will go to green ideas. Stimulus packages waste money.
All we have right now are projections. Only candidates who received over 50% of the vote have guaranteed seats in Parliament.
Otherwise, all candidates who received over 12.5% of votes today head for round two next Sunday.
Peak Macron Already?
Can things get much better for Macron? I struggle to see how.
His carefully crafted set of ideas gave something to everyone and also took something away.
Over half the electorate sat things out. Macron won, but can he govern?
That’s what we are going to find out.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock