France: General elections – First round

The French general elections will give an overall majority to Emmanuel Macron the President-elect. After the first round, yesterday, La Republique En Marche (LREM) his political party can expect between 400 and 455 seats on a total of 577.

Different remarks
1 – French people are legitimist; they have given a large majority to the new President enabling him to pass the reforms he announced during his campaign. This mustn’t be a surprise. The new President has always had a majority notably since 2002 as general elections follow the presidential election by a month. Nevertheless the LREM victory is large but not the largest as it can be seen on the graph below.

majority

2 – This popular vote and the impressive majority it gives to the President imply a strong legitimity and a robust support on the reforms he wants to conduct.
3 – This will apply specifically to the labor market reform. The vote gives him a legitimacy and a strong credibility for the negotiations that will start with the Trade Unions. How can Trade Unions go against such a popular vote?
4 – This vote on the presidential majority reflects also Macron’s behavior on the international scene. His handshake with Trump, his remarks to Putin and his friendship with Merkel have been perceived as a renewal of France and of its role at the global level. French people are proud of that.
5 – This new international luster and the will of structural reforms can give France a stronger weight in the way European Institutions must be reformed. France will make efforts on the labor market and on the regulation of its economy but will have a larger influence at the European level. That’s an important trade-off that is perceived now as positive for France under Macron’s impulse.
6 – If the trajectory follows this two steps then risks associated with France will abate. But it’s necessary that France reforms its labor market. Macron must take advantage of his honeymoon with French people to create necessary ruptures.
7 – Discussions in France has been on the low turnout. Less than 50% of French voters have voted. On TV yesterday evening the question was on the legitimacy of the vote with this low turnout.
To highlight this point, it is interesting to watch the number of votes each party has had at the first round of the presidential election and at the first round of this general election.
LREM has lost 1 300 000 votes from the presidential election to the general elections. It’s a loss of circa 15%. For the Front National (FN) of Marine Le Pen (far right) the loss is 4 700 000 votes (-61%), for Les Républicains (LR conservative) the loss is 2 300 000 votes (-32%) for La France Insoumise and the Parti Communiste (LFI – far left – Jean Luc Melenchon) the loss is 3 900 000 votes (-56%) and for the Parti Socialiste (PS on the graph) the loss is 140 000 votes (-6%)
vote-loss
The large victory of LREM is not linked to a higher number of votes for this party but a huge drop on votes for the Front National (FN) and for La France Insoumise (LFI). These two parties were at 40% at the first round of the presidential election. Their electors were supposed to vote against “the system”. 60% of them stayed at home last Sunday. It shows that they wanted to give a chance to Macron. That’s the source of legitimacy and the way French people are legitimist.
8 – French people have given to Emmanuel Macron a mandate to reform the French economy and to give a brighter image of France on the internal scene. Yesterday’s vote gave him the legitimacy to do it. That’s the way we must interpret these general elections

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