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What are the chances, even if Macron does win re-election, that he will have a PS and Green majority in at least one branch of Parliament? That could provide a check on the worst of his right wing tendencies, given that he would be constrained in the new legislation he could get passed.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 11th, 2020 at 03:29:53 AM EST
Chances are close to none because of the re-jigged electoral calendar since 2001.

Like in the USA, the president does appoint the cabinet (led by the PM). But unlike the US system, the cabinet can be overthrown by the parliament; so in practice the government ministers always come from the parliamentary majority. When the president and the parliamentary majority are from opposite sides, as happened a few times in 1986-88, 1993-95 and 1997-2002 (we French call it "cohabitation"), there is constant tension between the president and the PM, even though most of the powers, at least for domestic policies, reside with the government, not the president.

A president can do close to nothing without a parliamentary majority, but it can dissolve the parliament (at least the lower house called National Assembly), call for snap elections (just like in the UK) and hope to get a majority this time: this is what F.Mitterrand did once elected in May 1981; the legislative elections in June returned a solid PS majority.

But this was the last century: in 2000 a constitutional reform was passed to reduce the presidential term from seven years to five, just like the parliament term. And in 2001, the parliament voted a law to adjust the electoral calendar, so that the 2002 parliamentary elections would happen in June, barely one month after the presidential election due in May 2002. This calendar has been in effect since then: the presidential election in April-May and parliamentary election right after in June. Each and every time, these elections have returned a majority to the newly elected president: Chirac (UMP) in 2002, Sarkozy (UMP) in 2007, Hollande (PS) in 2012 and then Macron (LREM) in 2017.

There is no reason at this point to suspect that 2022 would be any different: the voters tend to give the newly elected president a majority; past experiences of cohabitation are mostly remembered for constant tug of war between the PM and the president and a weakened capacity overall of the executive power to address any pressing issues.

This could change of course, as nothing in politics lasts forever: voters, especially younger ones who don't have the past memories, may decide that Macron should be kept in check by not having an outright majority. Macron could also call for snap elections and break this de facto coupling between the presidential and parliamentary elections. However, the most likely case is still that whomever gets elected president will get a majority, even a relative one, at the parliament.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Aug 11th, 2020 at 06:27:37 PM EST
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