Macron confounds sceptics, revives De Gaulle’s European vision

Emmanuel Macron’s new party, La République En Marche (LRM), established weeks ago on the internet streaked ahead in parliamentary elections. The main opposition party LR (Les Républicains, the conservative right, which has been changing its name for the umpteenth time since 1950) obtained around 21 percent of the vote, equaling François Fillon’s score in the presidential elections. They were counting on a parliamentary victory to challenge President Macron during his five-year-mandate, but this has been a failure. LR will get only one-sixth of the seats in the Assembly. The Parti Socialiste (PS), on the other hand, does a vanishing act; with a meager 10 percent, the Marxist Left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon (FLI) would only get 11 percent of the vote, while the Front National (FN) of Marine Le Pen scored less than 14 percent.

According to estimates, the second round of the elections would give LRM between 415 and 455 seats out of 577, with LR, the main opposition, getting between 70 and 110. PS, which had controlled half of the seats in the outgoing National Assembly, would only get between 20 and 30 seats; LFI between eight and 18 seats; and FN would achieve between one and five seats. This is a landslide victory for Macron and represents total destruction of established French politics.

Macron met Theresa May yesterday floating the idea that if Britain wanted to stay in the EU, it could. That was sheer PR: Macron wants to see the back of Britain and will give as much as necessary to see that happen. His political strength in France will allow him to rekindle the vision of Europe last held by Charles de Gaulle in 1968, one without Britain and without US interference (albeit that the balance of power between the two nations has changed). The US under Trump has given up on Europe after the impossibility of getting TTP through, and with worsening relations with Germany. While Merkel will come back to power happy that Macron is in a good place, it will be Macron who will set the pace, since he doesn’t only have reform of French laws in his sights but also reform of the EU.

Germany is stuck in a rut of its own making with massive intra-EU trade imbalances, and needs the momentum garnered by Macron in France to set a new course. Macron will invest this situation to return to the Gaullist vision of the French-German alliance which the German Bundestag, dominated by its US colonial masters, had undermined in the 1960s.