Emmanuel Macron’s ascent to French President caps a stunning rise for the political newcomer and his fledgling party but he now faces another battle to form a parliamentary majority, with his rivals already plotting revenge in June’s general election.
Mr Macron won 66 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s presidential run-off against the far right’s Marine Le Pen, the biggest win by a French President since Jacques Chirac’s victory over Ms Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie in 2002.
But he faces a tall order to convert his victory into the majority he needs to implement his ambitious agenda of labour, welfare and education reforms. Ms Le Pen’s National Front (FN) and the other elections losers are all hell bent on bouncing back in the parliamentary vote.
Traditionally, French voters have handed a parliamentary majority to the newly elected President in the general election. But for the first time in the country’s post-war history, the new President does not have a big party machine behind him, with the two main governing parties, the Republicans and Socialists, crashing out in the first round.
Mr Macron founded his centrist En Marche (On The Move) movement of mostly political neophytes just a year ago on a promise to inject new blood into France’s discredited political class.Half of his candidates for the 577 seats up for grabs in the general election will be newcomers to politics, he has said.
The other half will be made up of figures from the centrist Modem party with which he struck an alliance, as well as defectors from the centrist factions of the left-wing Socialists and right-wing Republicans. Two polls showed that En Marche would top the first round of the June 11-18 election.
Within minutes of the results on Sunday, a defeated Le Pen sounded the charge for the general election. Claiming a “massive” result of 33.9 per cent — a record for the FN — she promised “a profound transformation” of the party to widen its appeal. “I call on all patriots to join us,” she appealed. The FN is hoping to dramatically improve on its current tally of two seats in parliament....