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French President Emmanuel Macron Alliance Projected To Lose Parliamentary Majority

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PARIS, June 20 (AP): French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance was projected to lose its majority despite getting the most seats in the final round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, while the far-right National Rally appeared to have made big gains.

The projections, which are based on partial results, say Macron’s candidates would win between 230 and 250 seats — much less than the 289 required to have a straight majority at the National Assembly, France’s most powerful house of parliament.

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The situation, which is highly unusual in France, is expected to make Macron’s political manoeuvring difficult if the projections are borne out.

A new coalition — made up of the hard left, the Socialists and the Greens — is expected to become the main opposition force with about 140 to 160 seats.

The National Rally is projected to register a huge surge with potentially more than 80 seats, up from eight before. Polling was held nationwide to select the 577 members of the National Assembly.

The strong performance of both the National Rally and the leftist coalition called Nupes, led by hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, is expected to make it harder for Macron to implement the agenda he was reelected on in May, including tax cuts and raising France’s retirement age from 62 to 65.

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Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the “unprecedented” situation “is a risk to our country faced with challenges at the national level as well as at the international scale.”

“As the central force in that new Assembly … we will work, as of tomorrow, to build an action-oriented majority,” she said.

“There’s no alternative but gathering to guarantee our country some stability and lead the necessary reforms,” she added.

Borne, who herself won a seat in western France, suggested Macron’s centrist alliance will seek to get support from lawmakers from diverse political forces to find “good compromises.”

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The National Rally’s leader, Marine Le Pen, who lost to Macron in the presidential election, was reelected as MP in her stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont, in northern France.

“The Macron adventure has reached its end,” Le Pen said. The group of National Rally lawmakers “will be by far the biggest of the history of our political family.”

Acting National Rally president Jordan Bardella compared his party’s showing to a “tsunami.” “Tonight’s message is that the French people made from Emmanuel Macron a minority president,” he said on TF1 television.

“It’s the electoral failure of the Macronie’,” Mélenchon said, criticizing “a moral failure of those people who lectured everyone non-stop and said they would block the far-right, and the main result is that they reinforced it.

Macron’s government will still have the ability to rule, but only by bargaining with legislators. The centrists could try to negotiate on a case by case basis with lawmakers from the center-left and from the conservative party — with the goal of preventing opposition lawmakers from being numerous enough to reject the proposed measures.

The government could also occasionally use a special measure provided by the French Constitution to adopt a law without a vote.

Government spokesperson Olivia Grégoire said on France 2 television that “we’ve known better evenings.”

“This is a disappointing top position, but still a top position,” she said.

“We are holding out a helping hand to all those who are OK to make that country move forward,” she said, notably referring to The Republicans party, which is expected to have less seats than the far-right.

A similar situation happened in 1988 under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, who then had to seek support from the Communists or the centrists to pass laws.

These parliamentary elections have once again largely been defined by voter apathy — with over half the electorate staying home.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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