French President Emmanuel Macron failed to keep control of the absolute majority in the National Assembly during Sunday’s legislative elections, opening the door for unprecedented compromise in the nation’s parliament.
While Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition garnered the majority of seats in the lower house – 245 out of 577 – they came up short of the 289 threshold to hold the absolute majority, according to CNN.
The far-left New Ecological and Social People’s Union (NUPES) followed closely behind with 131 seats, becoming the main opposition party. The far-right National Rally coalition came up in third place with approximately 89 seats – the largest number in its political history.
“The collapse of the presidential party is total, and no majority is presented,” said NUPES leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Sunday.
“We have achieved the political objective that we had set ourselves, in less than a month, to bring down the one who, with such arrogance, had twisted the arm of the whole country, who had been elected without knowing what for,” Mélenchon added.
It is reportedly the first time in more than 20 years that a newly elected French president has failed to garner enough seats to keep the absolute majority, weakening his overall power.
While the move won’t necessarily halt Macron’s legislative agenda, it will force the president and his coalition to coordinate and compromise with other parties.
Macron sailed to reelection in April, receiving 58.2% of the vote and becoming the first French president to win reelection in 20 years.
“Many of our compatriots voted for me not out of support for my ideas but to block those of the extreme right,” he said in a victory speech at the time. “I want to thank them and I know that I have a duty towards then in the years to come.
“We will have to be benevolent and respectful because our country is riddled with so many doubts, so many divisions,” Macron added. “No one will be left by the wayside. It will be up to us to work together to achieve this unity which will enable us to live happier lives in France.”
While he easily beat out far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the National Rally leader appeared to warn of a parliamentary majority failure at the time, saying the high right-wing voter turnout would help the party in June.
“Emmanuel Macron will do nothing to repair the factures that divide our country and make our compatriots suffer,” she said. “I fear that the five-year term [that] is about to begin will not break with the brutal methods of the previous one.”
Still, some were surprised with the outcome.
Finance Minister Bruno la Maire called it a “democratic shock,” saying it could “block out capacity to reform and protect the French,” if the parties fail to compromise.
“The result is a risk for our country in view of the challenges we have to face,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said, indicating Macron’s team will seek to form alliances.
With Post wires