France: weakened Macron caught in pincer movement from far-left and right

France will be harder to govern for the centrist president Emmanuel Macron after gains from the far-left coalition Nupes and the far-right

French president Emmanuel Macron (centre) has lost his absolute majority in the French Assembly
French president Emmanuel Macron (centre) has lost his absolute majority in the French Assembly

French president Emmanuel Macron has lost his absolute majority of MPs in the French House, forcing him into an uneasy compromise with a right-wing minority.

Macron’s centrists were caught in a pincer movement from far-left and far-right gains, namely communist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Nupes movement – a coalition of leftists, socialists and greens – and Marine Le Pen’s far-right.

It means Macron’s second term will not enjoy a compliant legislature, but that he will have to work with National Assembly which cannot guarantee the passage of his reforms.

Less than two months after he was re-elected president, Macron now loses control of the French National Assembly following a strong performance by a left alliance and the far right.

Down by 100 or so seats, with only a relative majority, Macron will have to negotiate with the conservative Republicans (LR) – they will agree on raising pensionable age to 65, but Macron’s centrists will have to concede issues that will make him look more right-wing.

Since he cannot serve a third term, the question of succession will mean MPs will start sniping at the president, apart from having to fend off a newly-reinvigorated opposition from the extremes – they will disrupt the passage of new reforms like the pension age.

In April, Macron defeated Marine Le Pen convincingly to win a second term as president. He had more than 300 seats, but to maintain his outright majority he needed 289 – and fell well short with 245.

Mélenchon proved successful in bringing together mainstream parties from the left with Communists and Greens into an alliance called Nupes, which won some 131 seats.

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Rally party were also in jubilant mood after turning eight seats into 89.

Macron’s Ensemble could have to depend on the LR’s 64 seats to win votes, but signs for collaboration were not especially encouraging, with the LR chairman Christian Jacob calling Macron’s result a “stinging failure”.

In a rousing speech to his supporters, Mélenchon said the result marked the moral failure of ‘Macronie’, accusing the ruling party of enabling the far right by refusing to give clear guidance in seats where the left was running head to head with Marine Le Pen’s party.