EMMANUEL Macron has done it again.
In the first round of the French elections, he shook off Jean-Luc Melenchon from the Left before overcoming Marine Le Pen from the Right in the final poll.
But rather than a resounding parade, Macron’s victory was met with fierce protest – a sharp juxtaposition with the apathy that surrounded the vote.
France is set to be battered economically this summer, with inflation providing a real headache for the incumbent President.
And while Macron may technically have five more years in power, he still has one more election to contend with.
The En Marche! leader will be powerless without the backing of the National Assembly – but it appears both political poles have their eyes on denting Macron’s agenda in the years to come.
There is no reason to immediately panic for Macron’s camp.
In a poll by institute Harris Interactive is seen winning 326 to 366 seats, which would be an outright majority in the 577 seat National Assembly.
The far-right camp is seen winning between 117 and 147 seats, the poll said, while the left-leaning parties together would reach between 73 and 93 seats.
But he has two difficult factors to contend with in the upcoming month.
In Le Pen’s case, her far-right party may have just won eight seats last time out – but voting analysis from the Presidential election shows that her support is now far more spread, in geographical terms. In 2017, they came first in just 45 parliamentary constituencies – the figure this time around was 159.
And for Melenchon, there appears to be the rare magical case of the French Left uniting after years of division.
LFI, Europe Ecology–the Greens (EELV), and the French Communist Party (PCF), are in advanced talks over an accord based on the platform of the Union Populaire, Mélenchon’s campaign vehicle.
There is some debate to whether the three million votes tallied by the smaller leftist parties would have taken Melenchon over the line – most likely, it would have – but a strong, united campaign buoyed by the momentum of the first round could give the firebrand leftist a shot at being Prime Minister.
A month is a long time in politics. Even if Melenchon and Le Pen can’t quite break through to enough voters, one cannot necessarily rely on Macron to steady the ship enough to maintain his.
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