Humiliated Macron faces vote of no confidence after election 'tsunami'

Posted 3 days ago


Emmanuel Macron could face a no-confidence vote after his parliamentary majority was wiped out, with French voters ditching their 'arrogant' leader and opting instead for the far-right and far-left.

The chastened president, who only two months ago won the presidential elections, now has his tail between his legs after his alliance haemorrhaged 105 seats, meaning he will struggle to force through his centrist agenda.

Marine Le Pen's National Rally and Jean-Luc Melenchon's left-wing Nupes alliance were the major winners in Sunday's vote, which decides the make-up of the 577-seat National Assembly, France's lower chamber.

Nupes said today it now plans to put forward a no-confidence vote against the government on July 5.

Nupes is the second-biggest grouping in the lower house of parliament, following Sunday's election, but does not have enough votes on its own to get the no-confidence vote adopted, and has few allies in a very fragmented parliament.

But it represents another humiliation for Macron, who was forced to rely on voters across the spectrum to stop Le Pen winning the presidential elections two months ago amid his waning popularity.

Le Pen said today that her party's extraordinary surge is a 'historic victory' and a 'seismic event' in French politics.

The electorate turned against Macron's 'arrogance', a government source said, with Le Pen's National Rally growing from eight to 89 seats, and the Nupes alliance winning 131 seats to become the main opposition force.

Macron's centrist alliance won the most seats - 245 - but fell 44 seats short of a straight majority.

He will now need to rely on the support of the right-wing Republican party to meet the threshold of 289 to pass bills in the lower house.

It means he will now face a struggle to implement his manifesto promises to further deepen European Union integration, raise the retirement age and inject new life into France's nuclear industry.

Critics say voters turned against Macron for being out of touch and elitist, failing to appoint a new prime minister for weeks after his election, the embarrassment of the chaotic Champions League final in Paris, and being too pro-business.

While the left and right focused on the cost of living crisis by cutting the cost of food and oil while raising minimum wages, Macron alienated voters after five years of loosening labour protections and slashing employment benefits.

One source said: 'It's a message about the lack of grassroots and the arrogance we have sometimes shown.'

His centrist catch-all message may have been enough to stave off a Le Pen presidency but it was not fooling voters this time, who increased her party's parliamentary share more than tenfold.

She secured 42 per cent in April's presidential election after tapping into the general disenchantment with Macron and identifying anger across the country over the rising cost of living and the decline of many rural communities.

She has now won 89 seats in parliament, up from just two in 2012 and eight in 2017, despite major pollsters last week predicting just 25-50 seats.

The previous record for a far-right party was the 35 seats won by the then National Front in 1986 when the party was led by her father, the convicted racist and anti-Semite Jean-Marie Le Pen.

'We have achieved our three objectives: that of making Emmanuel Macron a minority president, without control of power and that of pursuing the political recomposition essential to democratic renewal,' a triumphant Le Pen told reporters after being re-elected in northern France and vowing to be a respectful opposition.

'And of forming a decisive opposition group against the deconstructors from above, the Macronists, and from below, the Nupes,' she added referring to the left wing alliance, which became the largest opposition bloc in parliament.

Today, Le Penn said in Henin-Beaumont, her stronghold in northern France: 'Macron is a minority president now. ... His retirement reform plan is buried. It's a historic victory (...) a seismic event.'

She told reporters: 'We are entering the parliament as a very strong group and as such we will claim every post that belongs to us.' As the biggest single party in the parliament - Macron and Melenchon both lead coalitions - she said National Rally will seek to chair the parliament's powerful finance committee, one of the eight commissions that oversee the national budget.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne suggested Sunday evening that Macron's alliance will seek to find 'good com... (Read more)