Macron loses absolute majority in parliament in ‘democratic shock’

  • 289 seats are required for an absolute majority
  • Initial forecasts show Macron falling short
  • Point to the hung parliament

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron and his allies lost their outright majority in the National Assembly on Sunday and control of the reform agenda, in a landslide for the newly re-elected president.

Definitely, Macron’s centrist squad! Initial forecasts showed that the alliance was set to end with the most seats in Sunday’s election, followed by the left-wing Nupes bloc headed by left-wing veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

But Macron and his allies will fail to achieve the absolute majority they need to control parliament, and ministers and close aides have admitted, saying they will now have to reach out to others outside their coalition to rule the country.

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Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the outcome a “democratic shock” and said they would reach out to all pro-Europeans to help govern the country.

“The presidential party’s defeat is complete and there is no clear majority in sight,” Melenchon told his supporters.

United behind him, left-wing parties were seen on track to triple their scores from the last legislative election, in 2017, but failed to achieve the outright victory Melenchon had hoped for.

If confirmed, the suspended parliament would open a period of political uncertainty that would require a degree of power-sharing between parties that France has not experienced in recent decades, or political paralysis and possibly a re-election.

Rachida Dati, of the conservative Republican Party, called the outcome a “bitter failure” for Macron and said he should appoint a new prime minister.

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There is no set script in France for how things will develop now as Macron and Ensemble will seek to find a way forward to avoid paralysis.

“There are moderates on the seats and on the right and on the left. There are moderate socialists and there are people on the right who might be on our side on legislation,” said government spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire.


Macron, 44, in April became the first French president to win a second term in two decades, but he presides over a deeply frustrated and divided country as support for populist parties from the right and left has surged.

His ability to pursue reform of the eurozone’s second-largest economy will depend on his ability to rally moderates outside his coalition on the right and leave behind his legislative agenda.

Ifop, OpinionWay, Elabe and Ipsos poll forecasts showed Macron’s Ensemble coalition winning 210-240 seats while Nupes 149-188.

Former National Assembly Speaker Richard Ferrand and Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon lost their seats in two major defeats for Macron’s camp.

Initial forecasts showed that in another significant change in French policy, Le Pen’s party could register a tenfold increase in its number of MPs, and win nearly 100 seats – its largest ever recorded.

The Republican Party and its allies can also have up to 100, potentially making them kingmakers, as their platform is more aligned with Macron than any other group.

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If the official results, which are beginning to pour in, confirm that Macron and his allies have lost an absolute majority by a wide margin, they may either seek an alliance with the Republicans or run a minority government that will have to negotiate laws with other parties on an issue. On a case by case basis.

Macron had called for a strong mandate during a campaign against the backdrop of a war on Europe’s eastern flanks that has limited food and energy supplies and soared inflation, eroding household budgets.

Before the second round of voting, the president had said: “Nothing is worse than adding French chaos to global chaos.”

The Mellenchon Newbies coalition has campaigned to freeze commodity prices, lower the retirement age, set a cap on inheritance, and ban dividend-paying companies from layoffs. Melenchon also calls for disobedience towards the European Union.

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Additional reporting by Benoit van Overstraiten, Michelle Rose, John Irish and Juliette Jabkeiro.

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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