Sunday, June 11, 2017

Legislatives--First Projections

BFM-TV predicts that REM will have a majority of 415-445 out of 570 seats. An unbelievable result for Macron. Both the FN and France Insoumise vastly underperformed compared to their presidential results. For the moment, Macron is in the driver's seat, although the record low turnout--around 50%--suggests that the opposition is silent and sullen rather than non-existent. But make no mistake: the political map of France has been redrawn.


Lapinot said...

Cue the pious lamentations from opposition parties about a dangerous concentration of power as if that weren't exactly what they'd been hoping for themelves.

A bad day for the FI and a terrible one for the FN. Not too bad for the PS, though, all things considered.

Mitch Guthman said...

Did not see this coming. Not at all.

Anonymous said...

I do think concentration of power - regardless of the party holding it - is a problem in a democracy. All opinions must be represented. For all I hate the FN I already thought having only two representatives wasn't good democratic representation. I remember arriving in frznce in 2007 and fighting against the concept of a 'blue wave' for Sarkozy.
I really think Emmanuel Macron would be stronger, not weaker, with an opposition presenting other voices, about 100 representatives each from the PS and LR, and some france insoumise, FN, PC.

Anonymous said...

In the end , whether REM obtains 70% or 40% matters little because the parliament in France - despite some progress in recent years - plays no significant role in the governance of the country , and certainly plays no role as a contre-pouvoir. Of course, my judgement may be clouded by my repugnance for this despicable regime which was single-handedly devised and handed down to the obsequious French by el Generalissimo --descendu du ciel --, the dictatorial and ultimately vain and ridiculous Charles de Gaulle.


Lapinot said...

In the long term a concentration of power would almost certainly be bad and corrupting but in the shorter term I think it could be useful. It is dangerous, of course, and depends very much on the judgement of those who hold the power. But if their judgement is good it could be useful.

Anonymous said...

I have a big issue with the fact there are no midterm elections and even with good judgement it's impossible to be right all the time, and willful deafness is very common among politicians in power.

Mitch Guthman said...


I agree that the size of Macron’s majority (which he now certain to achieve) isn’t very important, it was essential for everyone that he be able to form a government on his own. Remember, if he has to go into cohabitation, it would have been with the right. Obviously, having a prime minister from the right running the government and in charge of the country would have been even worse, from my perspective, than having Macron run the country.

Then, too, there’s the problem that the LR is in the middle of a civil war. It isn’t clear when that’s going to be resolved and, from the outside looking in, my guess is that the fight for power won’t be settled anytime soon. Which would have made forming a government with the LR problematic.

I am shocked that the right, and especially Macron, did so amazingly well. And the left got totally crushed. Macron certainly has a mandate from the voters. Now let’s see how they like his “reforms” outside of the chic arrondissements of Paris.

gregory brown said...

Particularly striking that this result contrasts rather markedly with the British outcome last week. In Britain, a divided outcome that resulted from the very high degree of political polarization between the 2 major political parties -- whereas in France, a very clear mandate and a rejection of the 2 longstanding political parties.

Mitch Guthman said...


Since it looks like Macron’s government will mostly be coming from right, it’s hard to see the LR likely to oppose much of anything that he wants to do. Before the PS to can constitute a meaningful opposition, it needs to figure out whether it’s a party of the center-left (and therefore likely opposing most of Macron’s “reforms”) or a party of “militant centrism” as it was under Hollande.

It seems to me that the same weird political dynamic where the party of the right is preoccupied with internal power plays and is hemorrhaging voters to the FN and the traditional party of the center-left is sabotaged and destroyed from within by its leadership “militant centrism,” means that for the foreseeable future there’s unlikely to be any sort of meaningful opposition except from the FN. Hollande has totally obliterated the PS’s power base in the country and in Paris—which I suspect pleases him greatly.

On the question of midterms, the problem is that France’s system is neither fish nor fowl. Fixed terms means that the government really can’t fall except under the most extraordinary circumstances. But, unlike fixed terms systems like the United States, there isn’t any way to unseat someone like Hollande (although, to be fair, my understanding is that the PS could have replaced him through a leadership challenge but nobody has the stomach for the fight).

brent said...

I find these results a bit more enigmatic than some.

First, the notion that Macron's 32% will leverage a huge majority of 415 seats makes our US gerrymandered Congress, and loser-wins Electoral College system, look almost rational. Meanwhile 65% of the French electorate stands in opposition, almost evenly divided between right and left--not an easy crowd to please.

Then there are the abstentions, 51%, a small majority but much bigger than Macron's plurality. A mandate for ... who knows what?

As a friend of France and of western democracy, I very much hope Macron and colleagues will solve this sphinx's riddle, but I find the actual message from the voters contains more questions than answers.

Robinson said...

Well, he can do whatever he wants now. Like brent, I doubt the size of Macron's actual majority: a third of the vote should not translate into such an overwhelming parliamentary faction. The real opposition to Macron will be in the streets.

Nevertheless, Macron has fair and square won more power than any French politician since De Gaulle in his glory. I'm a deep sceptic of him and his program, but one has to admit that the new president is both audacious and humanly impressive. For all of my skepticism of Macron's "neoliberalism" (or whatever one wants to call his economic ideology), I wish him well. Both French and American commentators tend to repeat the cloying truism that, left or right, one has to wish a new president well as the representative of the whole nation. I think that it is true of Macron, however: right now he *is* France, his success will be the success of the Republic and his failure will damage the Republic immeasurably. You could say the same thing of the "couple" Macron/Merkel: they bear the fate of the European project in their hands. The Macron presidency is the last, certainly the best chance that France and Europe have to get out of the fatal malaise in which they find themselves. I wish that the leaders of the salvage operation were farther to the left, but it seems churlish to overemphasize my reservations about Merkel or Macron when I look at their Anglo-Saxon homologues. Or their equivalents in the Spanish-speaking world, for that matter...

For all of Macron's flaws, this is our chance! I am glad that the French (both French voters and the French elite power structure) are committing themselves to his endeavor.

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Anonymous said...

I do think the size of his majority matters. He'll govern just as well with 300 as with 400, Abbot may even be easier to 'whip'the bloc. (I don't see how a 400+ group doesn't split into smaller groups.) And in the remaining minority numbers there should be France's democratic expression.
I say good riddance to Cambadelis and Goasguen, but really how does eliminating Hamon and NKM help anything or make the national assembly a better, stronger democratic representative body? An overwhelming majority is both unnecessary to govern and detrimental to democratic pluralism.

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Anonymous said...

Curious. Political hacks on the right and the left and some journalists are belittling REM's landslide and complaining about the low turnout, attributing it to lack of enthusiasm for Macron's programme. But they could, if they were honest with themselves, blame their own candidates and programs for the lack of enthusiasm in the electorate.


FrédéricLN said...

Well, I did see this coming… but I could not prevent this to come.

@Gregory Brown: very good point!

@Anonymous June 13, 2017 at 4:41 AM : please notice that, across the maybe 140 not-REM députés:
* 50 will have been actually elected because REM supported them and because they supported REM (Manuel Valls, Philippe Folliot…)
* at least 40, including almost all future PS députés, are on Emmanuel Macron's line (for example my incumbent député supported Macron at round 1 of the presidential election. His opponent at turn 2 of the législative is the REM candidate).

The parliamentary opposition, in the "opponent" sense of the word ;-) will be reduced to 50 at best, i.e. 7% of the Assemblée. That's a Putinian performance.

FrédéricLN said...

@Anonymous June 13, 2017 at 9:06 AM : absolutely true. Support for REM + MoDem, i.e. for Macron agenda and representatives, is very low compared to historical benchmarks; and support for all kinds of opponent movements is, I guess, at a lowest point in history (at least since 1848 and the election of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte).

Where will the next opposition come from? "Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum" (Mark McKinnon said this about the emergence of the Tea Party, Graham Watson also said that in a different context).

My own party Résistons! got altogether 15,000 voices = 0.07% of the votes. I'm not sure we are the most important part of the future opposition.

Lapinot said...

Opinionway and Harris Interactive polls are now perdicitng 440 - 470 seats.

Anonymous said...

Over 470 seems a bit overestimated but maybe it will be, i have no idea.

Hopefully the end of a long (since 1945 ?) status-quo french show - not the band :)

when will the likes of louis16, robespierre, blum, mitterand, chirac be held responsible for such a messy overly centralized country ?
hopefully the french can spare us a 1793 blood-bath and do a peaceful transition *this time*

Anonymous said...

Democratically this would be bad and almost guarantee street unrest for months on end.
It boggles the mind that a single party could have 80%+ of seats with about 33% clear support. In several districts both remaining candidates purport to support Macron.
I don't dislike him and do think he should have a majority, but 400+ is just too much... He can do his job well with 300 or so,
no problem. I think such numbers are bad for democracy and I worry because French people aren't quiet and stoic.

There's a good Arrets sur images video on the elections BTW, see I'd you can find it, it's about 2mn.

phann son said...

I do think concentration of power - regardless of the party holding it - is a problem in a democracy. All opinions must be represented. For all I hate the FN I already thought having only two representatives wasn't good democratic representation. I remember arriving in frznce in 2007 and fighting against the concept of a 'blue wave' for Sarkozy.


Anonymous said...

Err, whoever phan son is, the above is a copy/paste of a previous post of mine

Anonymous said...

People seem to be forgetting that the right had almost as many seats in the National Assembly in 2002 as REM is expected to win today (assuming 400), to wit 394 (UMP 365, UDF 29). In 1993-1997 the conservative majority had a record 472 députés (RPR 257, UDF, 215).

The differences between the two parties of the right have always been exaggerated in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Were UDF always voting with UMP? We're there no differences? Why have a separate party then? It just doesn't seem the same when two parties agree to share power due to common ideas and interests, as when there's just one party.