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France

French legislative elections: 'A spectacular Grand Slam' for Emmanuel Macron

© Christophe Petit Tesson, AFP | French President Emmanuel Macron after voting at a polling station on June 11, 2017.

Text by EMILIE BOYER KING

Latest update : 2017-06-12

The French press is unequivocal: with Emmanuel Macron's crushing victory, a tsunami has swept over the French political landscape, destroying all its opponents in its wake.

It’s a “Master stroke” for Le Parisien. "A Takeover" titles the left-wing daily Libération. "Macron in on his way to a crushing majority," heads Le Figaro.

The morning after the first round of France’s legislative vote in which Emmanuel Macron’s party won a landslide victory (32.32% of the vote), the results leave no doubt as to the winner of the vote’s second round: LREM is poised to take up to 455 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly next week.

 

“LREM could win over 400 seats next Sunday, sweeping all the traditional parties in its path," writes Laurent Joffrin in Libération. "New to politics, Emmanuel Macron is about to win the most spectacular Grand Slam of the fifth republic ... After a campaign that was run like a military commando, the old structures are crumbling like a rotten frame.”

Emmanuel Macron has won his bet

“Who would have believed it? Who would have said it?” questions Paul-Henri du Limbert in Le Figaro. “A political party that didn’t exist two years ago is about to win an insolent majority in the National Assembly, changing the political landscape that was long thought to be unchangeable. Emmanuel Macron has won his bet and this morning he can observe the consequences of this astonishing upheaval.”

The heart of Europe’s revival

For commentators around Europe, this landslide victory has wider repercussions.

“The president’s legislative landslide offers hope beyond France,” writes the UK’s Financial Times. “Victory sweeps Macron to the heart of Europe’s revival.”

“The Macron experiment now belongs to the entire country: it is a pro-European wave with a strong support of its people,” writes Spain’s El Pais in its editorial titled "The Macron Tsunami". “It is the reverse of last Thursday’s elections in Britain, which now looks like it is heading towards instability and division.”

Record level of abstentions

Commentators however point to one major caveat that comes with this crushing victory: the record-level of abstentions. On Sunday, over half of the voters did not cast their ballot (51.29%).

“To govern properly, it is better to have strong support for a project and to have opposition in parliament rather than in the street. For now, there is neither,“ writes Michel Urvoy in Ouest-France.

L’Humanité regrets the low voter turnout: "A record absention leads to the risk of having a ‘blue Macron’ parliament."

“Emmanuel Macron runs the risk of winning a massive majority, which will be very hard to rein in," warns Cécile Cornudet in the financial daily Les Echos.

The lack of any strong opposition could turn France into a "monarchy", warns Christian Wernicke in Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung: “The irony of this 2017 election is that France is returning to a republican monarchy.”

Date created : 2017-06-12

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