Editorial: Electoral Stalemate In France

Editorial: Electoral Stalemate In France

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, July 09, 2024, 11:30 PM IST
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Elections are meant to end uncertainties and bring in a government that has the people’s mandate. Alas, in France, the recent elections have caused more confusion than clarity. The votes were divided almost evenly among three political groups, none of which see eye to eye on any issue. Furthermore, these parties lack a tradition of consensus-seeking compromise. The 1958 constitution expected the voters to deliver clear majorities. While it is for the president to name the prime minister, it sets no criteria for doing so. Ideally, President Emmanuel Macron should invite the bloc with the biggest number of seats to try to form a government. This is how his own centrist alliance formed a minority government in 2022.

Logically, therefore, the left-wing alliance, the New Popular Front (NFP), should be asked to form a government. This four-party grouping won 182 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, more than either Macron’s centrists (168 seats) or Marine Le Pen’s hard-right (143). However, the constituent parties of the NFP disagree on many things, including who the prime minister should be. Even if the NFP were invited to form a minority government, it might not last long. By itself, the alliance is over 100 seats short of the 289 needed to govern with a stable majority and is unlikely to gather the necessary support. Additionally, many of its plans involve heavy spending the economy cannot afford.

What is particularly distressing is the rise of the hard-right, which, by remaining in opposition, can position itself for victory in the next elections. As France grapples with its fractured political landscape, the challenge lies in finding a path forward that ensures stability while addressing the pressing economic and social issues facing the nation. The current impasse serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for effective governance in these uncertain times.

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