Right-wing populist Marine Le Pen wants to concentrate fully on her role as parliamentary group leader after her party’s surprise victory in the parliamentary elections in France. She will therefore not resume the presidency of the Rassemblement National party, which she had handed over to Jordan Bardella during her presidential election campaign, she announced on Monday in her constituency in Hénin-Beaumont. “We are the strongest opposition party,” stressed Le Pen.
On Monday, her party called for the chair of the Finance Commission in the National Assembly, which traditionally belongs to the strongest opposition faction. She also wants to nominate the vice president of the National Assembly. Le Pen’s party has quadrupled its number of MPs and has 89 seats.
After the bitter election defeat for President Emmanuel Macron, the soundings for a future government began on Monday. For the first time in 30 years, the President can no longer rely on an absolute but only on a simple majority in Parliament. His centre-camp now has to seek the support of other alliances in parliament, which is unusual in France. A political blockade is feared, because the other blocs have so far committed themselves to a tough opposition course against Macron and his policies.
According to the provisional official final result, the Macron camp came to 245 of the 577 seats on Sunday and thus missed an absolute majority. The new left alliance led by left-wing politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon won 131 seats. Marine Le Pen’s right-wing national Rassemblement National party gained a massive 89 seats. The traditional Republican People’s Party and its allies won 74 seats, a heavy loss.
“We are in opposition and we remain in opposition to Emmanuel Macron,” tweeted French Conservative leader Christian Jacob on Monday afternoon. On election night, his Républicains were named as the favorites for cooperation – but the party’s general secretary, Aurélien Pradié, dampened expectations. “There is no question of making any kind of pact with Emmanuel Macron to save his political survival,” he told the newspaper Le Parisien. It remains to be seen whether the position of the party, which itself has suffered severe losses, will change.
There were already direct consequences of the election debacle for some members of the government. Two female ministers in the newly formed cabinet will have to vacate their posts after failing to gain a majority in their constituencies. Macron had established this rule before the election. Environment Minister Amélie de Montchalin and Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon are affected. Also, the Secretary of State for Maritime Affairs, Justine Benin, has to go.