|Parliamentary elections were held in France between June 11-18 to elect 577 members to the National Assembly for a five-year term. The election results, announced by France's Ministry of the Interior on June 19, reveal that 27,127,488 registered voters abstained from casting a ballot. This represents an abstention rate of 56.36 per cent, the highest ever in parliamentary elections of the Fifth Republic.
The distribution of seats in the new National Assembly is as follows:
- Macron's La République en marche! has 306 seats, with 16.55 per cent of registered voters. This is a far cry from the "major endorsement of Emmanuel Macron and his movement" touted by the ruling circles and their media. (During the first round of presidential elections, Macron garnered the support of 18.19 per cent of registered voters).
- The MoDem (Mouvement démocrate), the centrist party allied with Macron, has 42 seats, with 2.33 per cent of the registered vote.
- Les Républicains have 112 seats, with 8.54 per cent of the registered vote.
- The Parti socialiste has 30 seats.
- Jean-Luc Mélenchon's party, La France insoumise, has 17 seats.
- Le Front national of Marine Le Pen has 8 seats.
Why, despite the strong abstention rate, are the results presented as an endorsement of Emmanuel Macron by the people of France? What they actually show is the demise of the illusion maintained by the ruling circles and their media that Macron would "get France out of the old politics" with his "civil society-based movement," defined as "everything that transcends parties."
Just days before the first round, following a June 7 Council of Ministers meeting, Macron defined what was at stake during the elections, declaring that in order to ensure an absolute majority for his government and La République en marche!, "the French have a simple answer to give to a simple question. The question is: stop, or go forward [and] whether we want action or impotence?"
What Macron means by "action versus impotence" is to declare the inevitability of the perpetuation of human rights violations, the constitutional enshrinement of the state of emergency and the strengthening of police powers. This also means the intensification of the neo-liberal agenda, which has deepened the crisis in which the French nation-state is mired, as well as rule by decree. It also signifies the continuation of the warmongering and adventurist policies of France within NATO, the European Union in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
The new legislature opens on June 27, following the election of the new President of the National Assembly. The first measures that Macron and his government will carry out will be to impose on the National Assembly the extension of the state of emergency and its enshrinement in the constitution, as well as rule by decree in order to pass their neo-liberal legislation, in particular the Labour Law. This anti-worker law will serve to criminalize the demands of the workers for the affirmation of their rights. The majority of the French people did not vote for that.