In legislative elections held Sunday, the political bloc supporting French President Emmanuel Macron lost its absolute majority in the National Assembly, hamstringing the newly re-elected president and raising questions about the future of French politics.


Results show Macron's alliance — Ensemble — won 245 seats in the National Assembly, well short of the 289 needed for an absolute majority. The newly formed left-wing alliance known as the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPES) came in second with 131 seats, followed by Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Rally (RN) with 89 and the center-right Republicans (LR) with 61.

The results prompted two prominent newspapers to publish headlines declaring France ingouvernable — ungovernable. Macron's second-term legislative agenda, which included pension reform and raising the retirement age, is likely dead on arrival.

The president has few options moving forward. He could go, hat in hand, to the Republicans, but they'll demand a high price for their cooperation. He could also dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections, but there's no guarantee he'd fare any better in them.  

Writing for The Spectator World, Jonathan Miller noted that Macron didn't just lose his majority. He also lost several "crucial parliamentary allies."

Despite Macron's decisive victory in April — he defeated Le Pen by about 17 points — the newly re-elected president is deeply unpopular. As of June 1, his job approval rating stood at a meager 39 percent, and the legislative election results have likely dragged that number even lower. Kimberly Tower — a Fulbright scholar studying French politics — compared Macron to President Biden in the United States. People voted for him to defeat a right-wing candidate they feared and despised, "not because they liked him," she told The Week.

The left isn't dead

Writing for The Washington Post, James McAuley argued that the success...

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