The French Parliament will soon be in session after a long campaign and the nervous eyes of Europe watching. The election was predicted to be a battle between the old guard and the newcomers in French politics.
French Parliament Election Results
Although the final election results are not yet official – as all seats have not yet been counted, we can confirm that En Marche! will control a majority in the French Parliament. At the time of writing, 97% of votes have been counted (updates will follow).
La République En Marche – 350 Seats
Les Républicains – 137 Seats
Socialist Party – 44 Seats
France Unbowed and communists – 27 Seats
Front Nationale – 8 Seats
Other – 11 Seats
La République En Marche – the Impact of their Majority
En Marche and president Macron will command an overwhelming majority in Parliament. His party has surpassed the 289 seats needed for a majority in the French parliament. In contrast, the Front Nationale failed to achieve the 15 seat minimum needed to form a parliamentary group. However, Marine Le Pen was elected for the first time in her home region in Northern France.
It is expected that Macron will attempt to reform both the French government and economy according to his ideals. His party En Marche commands 308 seats in the French parliament. While their allies Modem brings them up to a total of 350 seats. Macron will not have to rely on any support other than from his party to pass laws and support his presidency.
En Marche’s majority in the French Parliament comes with other significant benefits to the political system. With a concerted effort to encourage women and young people to vote, half of En Marche’s candidates were women and the average age of the current parliament is 10 years less than the previous French parliament. This, however, comes at a cost. The majority of his MPs do not have any political experience. Macron now needs to find a president for the National Assembly, a party Whip, and leaders for many parliamentary committees. While inexperience yet passion may be exactly the change Macron was seeking, it will present many challenges in the coming months.
A worrying Turnout
Election turnout is estimated to be at a record low of 42%. This is the lowest level of turnout in the history of France’s Fith Republic (since 1958). While there are a number of explanations for this drop it does little to disguise the lack of interest in Macron’s attempts to reform the French political system and reaffirm its place in Europe and the world. Many voters are assumed to have stayed away for the second round of voting due to a combination of voter fatigue and disenchantment from the far left and conservative voters. While a lower turnout will not hinder Macron’s ability to push through change, it will have damaged his future ability to rely on a wave of popular support. Similarly, opponents will use low turnout as a way to undermine the legitimacy of the French Parliament.