On 23 April, when many commentators were lamenting how weak (then-expected) President Emmannuel Macron’s support might be in the National Assembly, I offered an estimate of 29% of the vote for his newly formed party. I based this solely on the mean surge that presidents’ parties tend to have when an assembly election occurs early in their terms–a honeymoon election.
Maybe that was an underestimate. While one poll (OpinionWay/ORPI) has Macron’s party, La République en marche! (LRM), on 27%, Harris Interactive sees it on 32%. Both agree this will be the biggest party (Reuters). Given the electoral system, such a share puts Macron well within reach of having a majority in the Assembly.
And what a party it is!
Half of the LRM preliminary list of 428 candidates for the 577-member National Assembly are women and 52 percent are civil society figures.
Better yet, 95% are not current MPs and one of them is a “rockstar mathematician”! (France24)
Macron has also named his cabinet. The premier will be Edouard Philippe, mayor of Le Havre and a member of the Les Republicans (the party of defeated and discredited presidential candidate François Fillon). Reuters reports:
A leading French conservative accused President Emmanuel Macron of “dynamiting” the political landscape on Tuesday as he put together a government that is expected to include former rivals on both left and right.
In other words, he is being “accused” of doing precisely what he won nearly two thirds of the vote (in the runoff) saying he would do.
over 20 LR members of parliament, including some party heavyweights and former ministers, issued a joint statement on Monday urging the party to positively respond to the “hand extended by the president”.
All of the above should serve as a reminder of two things: (1) the purpose of the upcoming election is to ratify the new executive’s direction, not to be a second chance for an alternative vision; (2) the honeymoon electoral cycle matters.