.
O

n June 19th, the French will head to the polls for the second and final round of their National Assembly parliamentary elections. France’s left-wing coalition la Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale (NUPES) won the country’s first round on June 12, closely followed by Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble. Though Marine Le Pen faced Macron in the presidential election in April, her party came in third place (18.68%), significantly behind Ensemble (25.88%) and NUPES (26.11%). 

France will therefore experience one of three outcomes next Sunday: a NUPES-majority, an Ensemble-majority, or no majority at all. Macron has moved to the right on economic and security issues over the course of his presidency, prompting the left to join forces under the NUPES coalition. Due to the two parties’ opposing agendas, a clear NUPES- or clear Ensemble-majority will result in very different foreign policies. 

The National Assembly’s Growing Foreign Affairs Impact 

It is traditionally the president’s job to oversee the country’s foreign affairs, but the National Assembly has an influence, one which has expanded with decolonization, globalization, and the European Union. Since 2008, the president must have the approval of the National Assembly to extend foreign armed interventions longer than four months. 

The National Assembly’s strongest influence on international affairs lies in its legislative power. The body reviews all proposed laws, meaning the 577 deputies elected on June 19th will have a say on any treaty Macron hopes to ratify. The European Affairs committee also reviews acts proposed by the European Commission. Although the committee has no legal power alone, its combined opinion with other European member states’ can influence European policy. 

The National Assembly checks the president’s power. This is especially true in a cohabitation government, the case where the party with a parliamentary majority differs from that of the president. The president always selects the prime minister, but in a cohabitation government, they must be a member of the parliamentary majority party. 

The Left’s Platform Matters to the Planet and Your Wallet

Cohabitation governments are rare in France, but NUPES has a shot at creating one on Sunday. The coalition would like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who ran for president in April, to be selected Prime Minister. If there is a NUPES-majority in the National Assembly, France’s international politics will no doubt shift. 

The NUPES platform calls for the reform of a number of European treaties. It intends to prevent any new European free trade agreements, end the EU’s Stability Growth Pact, replace industrial farming with local agricultural production, and end the Dublin III regulation while reforming the EU’s migration agenda to be more humane. 

The coalition does not agree on everything. Its platform is fluid on certain issues, such as withdrawing from NATO. Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise and the Communist Party hope to gradually withdraw from the treaty, while the Socialist and Ecologist Parties do not. 

In the name of human rights and ecology, the NUPES platform aims to dismantle neoliberal economic policies and relax immigration regulations at both the national and international level. Given Macron’s history of doing just the opposite, it is likely the National Assembly and president will clash, resulting in political stalemates

This new discord between the executive and legislative branches may undermine the credibility of French foreign policy. Take, for instance, the European Union. Macron’s pro-European stance is a core tenant of his platform. NUPES and Mélenchon are more eurosceptic. For international actors, it will be hard to know which viewpoint is more valid and whether the country’s foreign political agenda is stable. 

On the other hand, if Macron’s party musters enough votes from the right and center-left to secure a parliamentary majority, there will be no political paralysis. This is what we have seen over the last five years—the overwhelming Ensemble majority allowed Macron to pass over 350 laws. France will maintain its pro-Europe and increasing neoliberal economic policy. We can expect to see continued compliance with international institutions and an expansion of the EU member states’ economic and defense capabilities. 

No Majority, A More Democratic yet Uncertain Outcome

But a Macron-led majority is unlikely. The extreme-right and right will likely win some seats at the expense of NUPES and Ensemble. Because a party must win 289 seats to have a parliamentary majority, any seats lost to the fringes are significant.  

We don’t need to look far to imagine French politics under a no-majority National Assembly. While they are unheard of in France, no-majority governments are quite common in Europe.  Twenty-one of the twenty-seven EU member states fall into this category.  

To avoid political stalemates, France’s political parties will need to compromise and form ad-hoc alliances. The French parliament will have more power, forcing Macron to work harder to achieve his party’s political agenda.  In other words, a no-majority environment could make French politics more democratic.

About
Millie Brigaud
:
Millie Brigaud is an aspiring journalist pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and French at William & Mary (class of 2023). Before joining the Diplomatic Courier, Millie interned at Rue89 Strasbourg, a local online newspaper in Strasbourg, France.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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France’s Parliamentary Election Could Mean New Alliances, Foreign Policy

Photo By Sebastien Gabriel via Unspash.

June 19, 2022

On June 19th, the French will vote in one of three parliamentary orders, a pro-Macron majority, a left-wing majority, or no majority. Each outcome will mean something different for international affairs.

O

n June 19th, the French will head to the polls for the second and final round of their National Assembly parliamentary elections. France’s left-wing coalition la Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale (NUPES) won the country’s first round on June 12, closely followed by Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble. Though Marine Le Pen faced Macron in the presidential election in April, her party came in third place (18.68%), significantly behind Ensemble (25.88%) and NUPES (26.11%). 

France will therefore experience one of three outcomes next Sunday: a NUPES-majority, an Ensemble-majority, or no majority at all. Macron has moved to the right on economic and security issues over the course of his presidency, prompting the left to join forces under the NUPES coalition. Due to the two parties’ opposing agendas, a clear NUPES- or clear Ensemble-majority will result in very different foreign policies. 

The National Assembly’s Growing Foreign Affairs Impact 

It is traditionally the president’s job to oversee the country’s foreign affairs, but the National Assembly has an influence, one which has expanded with decolonization, globalization, and the European Union. Since 2008, the president must have the approval of the National Assembly to extend foreign armed interventions longer than four months. 

The National Assembly’s strongest influence on international affairs lies in its legislative power. The body reviews all proposed laws, meaning the 577 deputies elected on June 19th will have a say on any treaty Macron hopes to ratify. The European Affairs committee also reviews acts proposed by the European Commission. Although the committee has no legal power alone, its combined opinion with other European member states’ can influence European policy. 

The National Assembly checks the president’s power. This is especially true in a cohabitation government, the case where the party with a parliamentary majority differs from that of the president. The president always selects the prime minister, but in a cohabitation government, they must be a member of the parliamentary majority party. 

The Left’s Platform Matters to the Planet and Your Wallet

Cohabitation governments are rare in France, but NUPES has a shot at creating one on Sunday. The coalition would like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who ran for president in April, to be selected Prime Minister. If there is a NUPES-majority in the National Assembly, France’s international politics will no doubt shift. 

The NUPES platform calls for the reform of a number of European treaties. It intends to prevent any new European free trade agreements, end the EU’s Stability Growth Pact, replace industrial farming with local agricultural production, and end the Dublin III regulation while reforming the EU’s migration agenda to be more humane. 

The coalition does not agree on everything. Its platform is fluid on certain issues, such as withdrawing from NATO. Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise and the Communist Party hope to gradually withdraw from the treaty, while the Socialist and Ecologist Parties do not. 

In the name of human rights and ecology, the NUPES platform aims to dismantle neoliberal economic policies and relax immigration regulations at both the national and international level. Given Macron’s history of doing just the opposite, it is likely the National Assembly and president will clash, resulting in political stalemates

This new discord between the executive and legislative branches may undermine the credibility of French foreign policy. Take, for instance, the European Union. Macron’s pro-European stance is a core tenant of his platform. NUPES and Mélenchon are more eurosceptic. For international actors, it will be hard to know which viewpoint is more valid and whether the country’s foreign political agenda is stable. 

On the other hand, if Macron’s party musters enough votes from the right and center-left to secure a parliamentary majority, there will be no political paralysis. This is what we have seen over the last five years—the overwhelming Ensemble majority allowed Macron to pass over 350 laws. France will maintain its pro-Europe and increasing neoliberal economic policy. We can expect to see continued compliance with international institutions and an expansion of the EU member states’ economic and defense capabilities. 

No Majority, A More Democratic yet Uncertain Outcome

But a Macron-led majority is unlikely. The extreme-right and right will likely win some seats at the expense of NUPES and Ensemble. Because a party must win 289 seats to have a parliamentary majority, any seats lost to the fringes are significant.  

We don’t need to look far to imagine French politics under a no-majority National Assembly. While they are unheard of in France, no-majority governments are quite common in Europe.  Twenty-one of the twenty-seven EU member states fall into this category.  

To avoid political stalemates, France’s political parties will need to compromise and form ad-hoc alliances. The French parliament will have more power, forcing Macron to work harder to achieve his party’s political agenda.  In other words, a no-majority environment could make French politics more democratic.

About
Millie Brigaud
:
Millie Brigaud is an aspiring journalist pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and French at William & Mary (class of 2023). Before joining the Diplomatic Courier, Millie interned at Rue89 Strasbourg, a local online newspaper in Strasbourg, France.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.