Macron’s Centrist Alliance Ensemble! won first place in the second round of legislative elections on Sunday with 245 votes out of 577, according to the final results released by the French Ministry of the Interior – more than any other political party.
However, he still hasn’t reached the threshold of 289 seats for an absolute majority in the National Assembly, France’s lower house.
The left-wing coalition New Ecological and Social People’s Union (NUPES), a panel coalition led by far-leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, came in second with 131 seats, according to the interior ministry.
This would make NUPES the main opposition force in the country, although the coalition is expected to split on some issues after entering parliament.
“The collapse of the presidential party is complete and the majority is not represented,” Mélenchon said earlier in the evening, commenting on the preliminary results.
“We have achieved the political goal that we set for ourselves, in less than a month to overthrow the one who twisted the arm of the whole country with such impudence, who was elected without knowing why.”
At the other end of the political spectrum, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party, meanwhile, won a record 89 seats, placing it in third place.
“This group will be the largest in our political history,” said Le Pen, who was also re-elected as an MP.
The speeches by Pen and Mélenchon are the latest evidence that Macron rules a deeply divided country, where the French public is turning to the far right and the left to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Macron, who won a second term in April’s presidential election, will now become the first sitting French president not to win a parliamentary majority since the 2000 electoral reform.
Now he is entering unknown territory of negotiation and compromise after five years of unchallenged control, where his coalition is expected to try to form alliances with other political parties, including turning to the traditional right, which finished fourth on Sunday.
France may be thrown into political paralysis if he fails to make alliances. But it could also mean that Macron will find it difficult to pass his legislative agenda, including an unpopular plan to raise the retirement age, as well as deeper integration into the European Union.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the result a “democratic shock,” Reuters reported, adding that if other blocs don’t cooperate, it will “block our ability to reform and protect the French.”
“This is an unprecedented situation,” said French Prime Minister Elisabeth Born, referring to the new “configuration” of power among the rival parties as a result of the vote. “Never before had the National Assembly experienced such a configuration under the Fifth Republic.”
“From tomorrow, we will work to create an action-oriented majority, this coalition has no alternative, to guarantee the stability of our country and carry out the necessary reforms,” she said.
As with the first round of elections in early June, Sunday’s vote was marked by a low turnout of more than 53% abstentions.