President Macron is on track to make history. With his party that he only formed a few weeks ago, Macron is about to capture the majority in the National Assembly and therefore secure complete power. The camp of the political high-flyer – buoyed by his election as new head of state – was able to gain almost one third of the votes in yesterday’s first round of the parliamentary election. At the same time, the established powers, especially the socialists, are about to fade into parliamentary insignificance. The right-wing populists also lost significant approval compared with the presidential election. The Front National is therefore unlikely to play a significant role in policy making, at least in the current legislative period.
According to the pollsters, the prospects that La République en Marche (REM) will dominate the chamber of the National Assembly look extremely good, allowing Macron to expedite his relatively pro-business programme with a broad level of support. This is all that France can hope for – a strong president, whose party resolutely supports him and his agenda to overcome the country’s structural problems. Macron’s plan to achieve greater flexibility on the labour market is certainly a step in the right direction here. However, there are no expectations for a noticeable shift away from the less sustainable debt policy of the large eurozone state – the new president is at least striving for a Maastricht-compliant budget. A strong French president would not only be welcome at national level. The politicians in Brussels and above all in Berlin are no doubt pleased as well with a stronger partner to press ahead with the future viability of the European project. If REM actually emerges as a clear winner of the second ballot next Sunday, Macron will take full control of the reins of power on the one hand. On the other, he will then come under tremendous pressure to succeed, as the responsibility for France’s political and economic future will rest almost entirely with him. In view of the low election turnout, he will also have to win over a large part of the disgruntled population for himself and his ideas.