Voters went to the polls yesterday to take part in round one of the French parliamentary elections. Following Emmanuel Macron’s ascension to the presidency last month, the question remained whether or not his anti-establishment En Marche party could back him up with a parliamentary majority. Here we bring you a comprehensive breakdown of the results in #Election News.
Just as pre-election polls had predicted, Macron’s fledgling political party looks to be taking full flight. In the first round of voting for the Assemblée nationale, France’s lower chamber of parliament, the self-styled centrist party won 32.3% of the vote.
Results at a glance: French Parliamentary Elections
- En Marche – 32.3%
- Les Républicains – 21.5%
- Nation Front – 13.2%
- La France insoumise – 11%
- Socialist Party – 9.5%
- Ecologists – 3.3%
- Communists – 3%
- Others – 5.4%
- Voter turnout – 48.7%
French parliamentary elections operate under a two round runoff system, similar to the country’s presidential elections. In next Sunday’s second round the top two candidates in each constituency, as well as any other candidate scoring over 12.5% in round one, will contest a first past the post runoff to decide who will sit in the lower house’s 577 single-member-constituency seats.
On the basis of first round results, Macron’s allies are on course to secure an overwhelming 445 seats. The largest opposition party is likely to be the traditional right of centre Les Républicains with around 100 seats. Only four candidates won seats after the first round by securing over 50% of the vote. Two of these belong to En Marche.
The result comes as a welcome boost to president Macron as he seeks to implement his campaign platform. Before the election, some pundits questioned whether En Marche’s political insurgency would carry over to the legislative branch. The prospect for Macron, therefore, was that he would preside over a hostile parliament and struggle to deliver his pro-business policies.
French prime minister Edouard Philippe has triumphantly declared “France is back” in light of the first round result. He went on to say “for the past month, the president has shown confidence, willingness and daring in France and on the international stage”.
Death of the Establishment?
The outcome in France is indicative of a wider anti-establishment trend in Western politics. Since the upheaval of the Brexit vote in Britain, the world has watched on as a billionaire reality TV star took the White House, before seeing the implosion of the traditional two-party French system as Macron triumphed over Marine Le Pen in the race for the Élysée. On top of that, Jeremy Corbyn’s poll-defying campaign in the UK’s snap general election blew up in prime minister Theresa May’s face – yet another vote against the status quo.
However, one worrying figure coming out of the first round French parliamentary elections was voter turnout. At just 48.7% in 2017, the number was down from 57.2% in the corresponding elections of 2012. The fact that less than half of registered voters were bothered to show up would seem to reflect a deeper malaise within French politics. Macron’s personal and party-wide success can therefore be understood as being less of an endorsement of his own policies, but rather a rejection of the alternatives.
Whatever the case, we’ll bring you all the results and reaction from next week’s deciding runoff elections in #Election News!