Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

French Election Results Point to a Political Crisis and Tremendous Instability

Everyone expected a defeat for President Macron in the second round of France’s elections for the National Assembly on June 19, but the results were far worse than any forecast. This opens a major political crisis and begins an explosive five-year term for the president.

Facebook Twitter Share

The second round of France’s legislative elections on June 19 were destined to be a shock that would weaken President Emmanuel Macron, but the final results exceed the worst expectations — they are cataclysmic. The government has lost its absolute majority by a wide margin, winning only an estimated 238 of the 577 total seats. This will force Macron to govern as a minority, leaving him no choice but to rely on the Right. It opens a period of deep political instability.

The NUPES coalition (the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale, which includes La France Insoumise, the Greens, and remnants from the Socialist and Communist Parties) won enough seats to become the leading opposition force. But that result is a far cry from the demagogic electoral objectives of its leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who just last Friday promised again, nonsensically, that he would be prime minister. (The strategy was to win a majority in the National Assembly with the belief that doing so would somehow force Macron to select the social-democratic populist leader as his prime minister).

As in the first round, the level of abstention — which reached 54 percent despite the campaign to mobilize voters that the NUPES has been waging since the presidential election in April — show just how difficult it was for Mélenchon’s coalition with bourgeois parties like the Socialists and the Greens to win over workers and youth. Nearly three-quarters of young people did not vote in the legislative elections.

In response to the NUPES, the Far Right is making breakthroughs and working to constitute itself as the second-largest opposition to the government. The National Rally (RN) party of Marine Le Pen may end up with another 10 deputies, following its historic result in the first round of the legislative elections. Le Pen’s party is capitalizing on the deep hatred of Macronism, but also on the inability of the NUPES to convince important sectors of the working classes that are seduced by the RN’s message.

These results point to an extremely unstable five-year period during which Macron’s capacity to govern will be severely tested. In the midst of a reactionary war in Ukraine and with the French presence in Africa in crisis, this situation will further weaken the position of French imperialism — a pillar of the European Union — on the international scene.

In a crisis speech, current prime minister Elisabeth Borne called for building a “majority of action,” betting on the possibility of agreements with the Right. These could be more difficult to forge than she thinks and, in what might be the best case, force Macron to govern more to the right than he wants.

The pandemic has temporarily put on hold what had been ongoing momentum toward uninterrupted class struggle between 2016 and 2020. This political instability, though, especially in an international context marked by sharpening geopolitical tensions, a deepening economic crisis, and recessionary tendencies, could quickly lead to major social explosions. In such a situation, the self-described “parliamentary guerrillas” advocated by the NUPES will be powerless. Further, the very sustainability of this coalition could be quickly put to the test — with Fabien Roussel of the French Communist Party already beginning to distance himself from it in remarks on Sunday evening.

The focus on winning reforms through elections remains at the heart of everything the institutional Left proposes. The urgent alternative is to prepare to fight on the terrain of the class struggle, seeking to seize the opportunities that will open up in the current political crisis. To do so, we need a revolutionary Left that goes on the offensive, and that can intervene in the coming struggles and build a front of resistance against Macron and the Far Right.

First published in French on June 19 in Révolution Permanente.

Translation and adaptation by Scott Cooper

Facebook Twitter Share

Révolution Permanente

Our French sister site, part of the international network of La Izquierda Diario

Twitter

Europe

British ‘Mega Strike’: Half a Million Workers Bring UK to a Halt and Protest Government

Over half a million workers in the UK went on strike on February 1 to protest the Conservative government and demand higher wages.

Diego Sacchi

February 2, 2023
Protesters in Paris over proposed pension reforms.

‘Robin Hood’ Strikes in France: Workers Provide Free Energy for Hospitals, Schools, and Low-Income Homes

Last week, energy workers in France provided free energy for hospitals, schools, low-income households, and libraries. They show that the working class holds the keys to the economy, and can put these resources in the service of society.

Otto Fors

February 1, 2023
More than a million people demonstrated across France against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the country’s legal age of retirement to 64 from 62.

‘This is only the beginning of the struggle’: Interview with a Healthcare Worker about the Strikes in France

Last Thursday, two million workers across France went on strike to protest the Macron government’s attempt to raise the retirement age. Left Voice spoke to Feargal McGovern, a worker at a hospital in Grenoble, France, and a member of the new organization Révolution Permanente.

Left Voice

January 23, 2023
Young Die Linke members at a meeting on January 14, 2022 deciding to break with the reformist party.

150 Young People in Berlin Break from Reformism

A conference last Saturday discussed a “revolutionary break” from Germany’s Left Party, Die Linke.

Nathaniel Flakin

January 18, 2023

MOST RECENT

The Strike Is Our Most Powerful Weapon, We Need to Use It against the Police!

Workers have the opportunity and ability to shut down the system. This is why Democrats, Republicans, and even the Squad broke the strike of the railroad workers. If we use our workplaces as organizing tools against racism and police murder, we can build the power to take control and shut them down! 

Julia Wallace

February 3, 2023

Dispatches from the Picket Lines: All Out for the Temple Graduate Workers Strike

A Temple faculty member reports.

Jason Koslowski

February 3, 2023

Massive Looting of Public Resources at Stake in District Detroit Redevelopment Scheme

Billionaire developers in Detroit have proposed capturing almost one billion dollars in public money to fund their newest project. The deal is far from sealed, but organized community opposition will be necessary to prevent approvals from sailing through.

Rita Singer

February 3, 2023

New York Nurses’ Strike Shows the Way Forward for Labor

Over 7,000 nurses struck at New York hospitals for three days, winning important partial gains. Despite attempts to avert the strike by the hospital bosses, Democratic Party politicians, and elements within the leadership of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the bargaining committees of two major hospitals held strong.

Thaddeus Greene

February 2, 2023