France to hold parliamentary elections

France to hold parliamentary elections
- Photo: AP/Bob Edme
France will hold parliamentary elections today as Emmanuel Macron’s centrist and liberal Ensemble coalition vies against a leftist alliance for a majority – Photo: AP/Bob Edme

France will hold parliamentary elections today following Emmanuel Macron’s win in the April 24 presidential election.

Macron’s La République En Marche and its allies hold 345 seats, well beyond the 289 required for a majority. Ahead of today’s vote, the party rebranded as Renaissance and formed a coalition—Ensemble—with other centrist and liberal parties. Current polls predict Ensemble could win anywhere from 260 to 320 seats.

Despite facing off against the right in April’s presidential election, in today’s parliamentary election Macron’s biggest threat comes from the left. A five-party alliance led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon—the far-left leader of La France Insoumise who failed to make it into the presidential runoff—has united to win the legislative assembly. The leftist coalition is fielding a single candidate in nearly all of France’s 577 constituencies to avoid competing candidacies.

Expect Mélenchon’s alliance to erode Macron’s current majority, complicating Ensemble’s likelihood of hitting the 289-seat target. While the left is unlikely to gain a majority itself, a weakened centrist liberal parliamentary force would hamper Macron’s agenda. Should Ensemble win, expect Macron to carry out his plans unfettered. However, if he fails to hit a majority, expect agenda items like tax cuts, welfare reform and, importantly, the raising of the retirement age to face serious uphill legislative battles.

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