‘Unprecedented situation’ – Macron loses majority in French parliament

Emmanuel Macron's prime minister will begin work on Monday trying to secure a coalition after his party lost its majority in the French parliamentary elections.

'Unprecedented situation' - Macron loses majority in French parliament
France's President Emmanuel Macron cast his vote during the second stage of French parliamentary elections at a polling station in Le Touquet, northern France on June 19, 2022. (Photo by Michel Spingler / POOL / AFP)

Macron’s centrist coalition Ensemble won 245 seats, making them the largest group but falling short of the 289 needed for a majority in the Assemblée nationale.

The left-wing Nupes alliance won 131 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally made major gains and won 89 seats.

The final results were confirmed by the Interior Ministry in the early hours of Monday.

Macron’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne made a brief speech as the results came in, saying: “Tonight the situation is unprecedented.

“This situation constitutes a risk for our country, given the challenges that we have to confront,” she said in a televised statement, adding: “We will work from tomorrow to build a working majority.”

The result does not affect Macron’s position as president, but means he will find it difficult to pass laws without a majority in the Assemblée nationale. 

The Macron government has also lost several big names, as ministers including Health minister Brigitte Bourguignon and Environment minister Amélie de Montchalin lost their seats.

READ ALSO What happens next in France as Macron loses majority?

Key ministers in the Macron government admitted that the performance in parliamentary elections was “disappointing”.

The results are “far from what we hoped”, Budget Minister Gabriel Attal said on the TF1 channel, while Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told BFM television: “We’re in first place but it’s a first place that is obviously disappointing.”

Meanwhile the number two of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Jordan Bardella, hailed her party’s performance as a “tsumani”.

Macron and Borne – who won her seat in Calvados, Normandy – will to attempt to build an alliance over the next few days with centre-right (LR) and independent MPs in order to give him a majority in parliament.

The new left-wing coalition Nupes  – now the second-largest group in parliament – was formed in May after the left suffered a debacle in April presidential elections, and groups the centre-left Parti Socialiste, the hard-left La France Insoumise, Communists and greens.

The left only had 60 seats in the outgoing parliament.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party made huge gains after having only eight seats in the outgoing parliament.   

Turnout was again very low for the second round, where just 46 percent of people voted.

Several big-name Macron supporters have lost their seats, including Health minister Brigitte Bourguignon, Environment minister Amélie de Montchalin, former interior minister Christophe Castaner and Richard Ferrand, president of the Assemblée nationale.

Ministers who lose their seats as MP are not technically obliged to step down from their ministerial role, but Macron has said that they will be expected to do so. 

Damien Abad, the newly-appointed Disabilities minister who had been at the centre of a storm after he was accused of rape by three women, won re-election in Ain, northern France.

Europe minister Clément Beune – a Macron protege who was facing a very tight race in his constituency in Paris – beat the Nupes candidate by just 658 votes. 

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‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.