Le Pen: Huge gains in French parliament a ‘seismic event’

PARIS (AP) — Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Monday that her party’s extraordinary advance in the country’s parliamentary elections is a “historic victory” and a “seismic event” in French politics.

Many voters in Sunday’s poll opted for far-right or far-left candidates, denying President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance an outright majority in the National Assembly.

Le Pen’s National Rally won 89 seats in the 577-member parliament, up from a previous total of eight. On the other side of the political spectrum, the leftist Nupes coalition, led by hardliner Jean-Luc Melenchon, won 131 seats to become the main opposition force.

Macron’s centrist alliance Together! he won the most seats, 245, but fell 44 seats short of an outright majority in the National Assembly, France’s most powerful parliamentary chamber.

The result of the legislative elections is very unusual in France and the good performance of both Le Pen’s National Grouping and Melenchon’s coalition – made up of his own far-left party, France Unbowed, the Socialists, the Greens and the Communists – will make it harder for Macron to implement the agenda he was re-elected for in May, including tax cuts and raising France’s retirement age from 62 to 65.

“Macron is a minority president now. (…) His pension reform plan is buried,” Le Pen declared on Monday beaming in Henin-Beaumont, her stronghold in northern France, where she was re-elected for another term of office. five years in Parliament. “It’s a historic victory … a seismic event.”

She told reporters: “We are entering parliament as a very strong group and as such we will claim all the seats that belong to us.” As the largest single party in parliament (Macron and Melenchon lead coalitions), she said the National Rally will seek to chair parliament’s powerful finance committee, one of eight committees that oversee the national budget.

Le Pen’s far-right party now has a sufficient number of lawmakers to constitute a formal group in the National Assembly and to apply for seats on other committees, including a parliamentary investigative committee and those focusing on defense and foreign policy.

In addition, the Agrupación Nacional party now has enough seats, more than 58, to provoke a no-confidence motion against the government that may lead to a no-confidence vote.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne suggested on Sunday night that Macron’s alliance would seek to find “good compromises” with lawmakers from various political forces.

Macron himself has yet to comment on the election results.

Your government will still have the ability to govern, but only by negotiating with legislators. The centrists could try to negotiate on a case-by-case basis with center-left and Conservative party lawmakers, with the aim of preventing opposition lawmakers from being numerous enough to reject the proposed measures.

The government could also occasionally use a special measure provided by the French Constitution to adopt a law without a vote.

A similar situation occurred in 1988 under the socialist president François Mitterrand, who then had to seek the support of the communists or the centrists to pass laws.

Once again, the latest parliamentary elections have been largely defined by voter apathy, with more than half of the electorate staying at home.

“I don’t even know who was running,” said Lucie Gault, a 20-year-old medical student in Paris. She had no interest in the election campaign and did not vote on Sunday.

“I don’t follow any of that and even if I did vote, I wouldn’t even know why I was voting,” Gault said.

Aurelie Cruvilier, a bank employee in the French capital, said the result of Sunday’s vote was confusing because “we vote for candidates we don’t like when perhaps we should vote for ideas or at least important issues.”


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