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French election: “Coexistence” could change the cards for president and prime minister

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This is Yves. President Emmanuel Macron’s hasty and petulant call for general elections in France, perhaps intended to spook a resurgent right wing, threatens to sink his centrist coalition. Based on the EU parliament’s vote totals, they Nasty guy Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and a smaller right-wing party, Reconquista, or a left-wing group of four parties calling themselves the Popular Front. In this article, we explain what would happen if the French president lost his majority or the largest party position in parliament.

We hope that our French and European readers will speak out, especially on the implications of further gains for right- and left-wing groups at the expense of Macron’s centrists. What are the broader implications of the French president undermining his own legitimacy? Will lame-duckery have more significant consequences in the EU than in the US?

By Alexandre Flambery-Iacobone. Doctor of European Law (Descriptions on the History of Law – Label Europe) / Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bordeaux. Originally published in conversation in French

French politics have been thrown into turmoil by President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to dissolve Parliament following historic gains for the far-right in the European elections.

The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for June 30 and July 7, and the European Parliament elections are scheduled for June 14 and July 18. The broad trichotomy of French politics The far-right led the European vote with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally winning 31.37% of the vote, followed by Reconquista, founded and led by nationalist firebrand Éric Zemmour, with 5.47%. Next came the newly formed left-wing coalition Popular Front, which includes the four main left parties, the Socialist Party (PS) (13.83%), Indomitable France (LFI) (9.89%), the Green Party (EÉLV) (5.5%) and the Communist Party (PCF) (2.36%), together taking almost 30% of the vote. Renaissance, the government’s centrist list, won 14.60% of the vote, while the mainstream conservative Republicans received only 7.25%.

This fragmentation likely means that Macron’s government will lose its majority in the National Assembly and will be forced to coexist with a prime minister from another party. How will this arrangement, enshrined in the 1958 constitution, work in practice?

Executive power

The Fifth Republic Constitution, adopted in 1958, curbed the powers of the National Assembly and thereby Government instability It has rocked the Fourth Republic since 1946.

Following a referendum called by then-President Charles de Gaulle in 1962, the constitution was amended to allow for direct election of the president, further strengthening executive powers.

This change gives the president the power and legitimacy to assert his leadership, but the downside is that their position may be divisive. Presidential Parliamentary System or Presidential SystemIn this organization, the chairman Active Participant in policy formulation and implementation at the state level.

In most parliamentary countries, presidents, kings and queens do not take part in the public political debate. In Germany, for example, we are used to hearing the name Angela Merkel. But she is not president, she is prime minister, more like a French prime minister. In the UK, when we think of politics, the first people that come to mind might be Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Boris Johnson. Again, they were prime ministers. Queen Elizabeth II and now King Charles III are further back.

France is a special case. Unlike most other countries with parliamentary systems, the head of state is directly elected by the people and enjoys recognition and legitimacy. Therefore, the French Constitution states: Double meaning.

The Two-Faced Constitution

France’s parliamentary system gives the president some prerogatives to allow him to exercise his power. As we have seen, the president can invoke Article 12 of the constitution to dissolve the National Assembly if he feels threatened or fails to pass promised reforms. Macron’s government is following in the footsteps of his predecessors and Often bypasses Congress to push through unpopular policies They resort to Article 49, paragraph 3, of the French Constitution. This mechanism was introduced in the Constitution of the Fifth Republic to “rationalize” the parliamentary system and resolve crises and impasses by delegating them to the executive. However, the National Assembly A vote of no confidence in the government can also be held..

As a result, the French president in office during the coexistence period will revert to a more modest role closer to that found in other parliamentary systems.

When the President of the Republic holds a political majority in Parliament, he enjoys greater legitimacy than the Prime Minister, who is supposed to direct the actions of the government. Under such a “majority rule,” the President leads the country, the Prime Minister is below him in a de facto hierarchical structure (not just a literal one as defined by the Constitution), and reforms initiated by the Prime Minister are expected to be passed by Parliament.

In such cases, the Prime Minister is not only responsible to the parliament from which he or she comes, but also to the Head of State. Moreover, during the Fifth Republic, some Presidents were appointed Prime Minister. Blank resignation letter,playing Constitutional AmbiguitySuch a move is only really possible under majority vote.

The majority decision is Constitutional amendment The coexistence policy implemented in 2000 under former President Jacques Chirac shortened presidential terms from seven to five years and required parliamentary elections to be held after presidential elections. Since then, France has not experienced coexistence.

The Importance of Parliamentary Elections

Finally, the political shade of the head of state is of little relevance: if the National Assembly is not made up of a majority of political families, their actions can be nullified or at least significantly weakened. The last person to experience this situation was Chirac, elected in 1995, Parliament was dissolved in 1997..

He was forced to work with a left-wing majority in the parliament and Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who was able to introduce a 35-hour work week, universal health insurance, back-to-school benefits, paternity leave and civil partnerships for same-sex couples – none of which were supported by President Chirac or his party.

At issue now is a possible transfer of power from a government run by the president’s party, which has a partial parliamentary majority, to a coexistence system, which would significantly reduce Macron’s powers.

If parliament leans to the far right, Macron will have no choice but to appoint a prime minister with that political leaning, or risk having his government dismissed by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. The prime minister, on the other hand, will have the freedom to form a government and propose legislation. Parliament can propose legislation, but Few in number than government notes.



By bringing forward parliamentary elections, Macron has introduced a risk of coexistence into France, which would lead to state institutions operating according to a more typical parliamentary system. Thus, even if Macron does not resign, France may be led to a political dynamic quite different from that of the presidential party.

It’s a stark reminder that the most important election in France is not the one that appoints the head of state, but the one that elects the 577-member National Assembly.

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