AcasăEurope NewsTHE MIXT OUTCOMES OF 2024 FRENCH PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

THE MIXT OUTCOMES OF 2024 FRENCH PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

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On July 7th, 2024, the second round of French parliamentary elections took place. France has 577 constituencies and the same number of seats in the lower legislative chamber, i.e. the National Assembly. Any candidate that wins the majority in a constituency is directly selected in the National Assembly. For candidates that do not obtain a majority in the first round but receive at least 12.5 % of the votes, a second elections round is organized, and the candidate with most votes wins.

The party that obtains the most seats will propose the prime-minister to the French President1. However, in order to achieve a majority, 289 are required.

1 https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/explained-what-is-frances-snap-election-how-does-it-work-what-next-6002300

In the first round from June 30th, 76 members of National Assembly were elected (from 577). Among these, 39 were from Marine Le Pen’s and Jordan Bardella’s National Rally (NR) and allies, 32 from New Popular Front (NFP) and 2 from President Macron’s Ensemble (Together) coalition. Hence, only 13.1 % of the seats had been decided in the first round, 501 seats were decided in the second round. The turnout was relatively high in the July 7th elections.

During the first phase of these elections, from the 501 not-decided constituencies over 300 experienced a (minority) win by the National Rally, hence the projection that NR can win the elections. In an attempt to counter this potential outcome, over 200 candidates from President Macron’s Ensemble and NFP decided to drop out of the race, in order to allow other Ensemble and NFP candidates to win the first place by cumulating votes and thus score higher than the National Rally1.

The results of a poll published three days before the second round of suggested that the National Rally was unlikely to secure a majority by winning 289 seats2. Furthermore, President Macron had announced that he does not intend to quit if his party lost the elections3.

1 https://edition.cnn.com/2024/07/02/europe/french-election-drop-outs-intl-latam/index.html

2 https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2024/07/04/frances-far-right-unlikely-to-secure-majority-in-second-round-of-elections-poll-reveals

3 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-06-12/macron-won-t-quit-if-his-party-is-defeated-in-french-election

He will have the option to remain in power until 2027 and call for snap elections in 12 months after the second elections round from July 7th, 2024.

The high tension in French politics had resulted from the success obtained by National Rally in European Parliament elections, an outcome that prompted President Macron to call for snap parliamentary elections. French political system is subjected to systematic pressure, like in many other European countries. The war from Ukraine, higher energy costs throughout Europe, the loss of influence in the Sahel, tensions in overseas territory New Caledonia are all factors that impact French politics. Both ruling coalition and the National Rally attempted to attract voters through potentially populist measures like to recruit young representatives.

Caught between populist, nationalist, European and other type of political messages, Brexit, inflation and an inconsistent Western reaction to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, European and French electorate was expected to respond to very classical political proposals in a rapidly changing world in which the news makers and other emerging actors play an increasingly important role. While French electorate appeared to have become more divided, this can also be noticed across the entire EU especially after Brexit. Likewise, the American political system appears to have become more divided.

The election results presented on July the 8th indicate 182 seats for NFP, 163 for Ensemble/Together, 143 for NR and 68 seats for other right candidates1. Although NR did not come in first place and did not obtain a majority even if one considered a potential alliance with the 68 seats for other right members of the new Assembly, its importance in the legislative body is significant. No party won a majority, hence France will probably witness more compromises in the process. Should one party try to recruit members of a major alliance in a bid to form a majority, this could lead to new political platforms to match new formations.

President Macron is theoretically not obliged to choose a NFP prime-minister, but this is an expected move. Should his political alliance Ensemble aim to win back electorate and new nap elections are called in 2025, he has the option to resist naming a NFP prime-minister. However, the French electorate appeared to mobilize at record levels and support a split but still robust and stable political establishment while also signalizing change. Therefore, the broad expectation is for President Macron to adopt a sustainable and equitable position.

1 https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/france-election-runoff-results-07-07-24-intl/index.html

Another option for President Macron is to increasingly appeal to French Constitution’s article 49, paragraph 3, that allows the government to bypass the National Assembly as long as no-confidence vote against the government is cast (simple majority which represent 50 %).

Overall, President Macron’s call for snap elections did not appear a gamble but rather a logical and courageous consultation of the population from a legitimate political position of Ensemble alliance and the French Presidency. Although President’s alliance lost seats in the Assembly, the French people had a new opportunity to exercise political rights and thus determine the directions in this challenging period for France, the European Union and beyond. This will prompt the political establishment to reconsider directions and potentially alliances, which is actually the expected outcome from such a shift. The democratic exercise represented a bet on democracy in the interest of the French people.

Irrespective of the challenges lying ahead, which are not to be underestimated or considered secondary, France won a democratic round and demonstrated political resilience. Despite a more divided legislative formation, President Macron and Ensemble invited the French people and Europe to remain courageous and aim for unity.

By Ecaterina Mațoi – Director MEPEI

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