Macron marches to a parliamentary majority

Macron marches to a parliamentary majority

French voters will go to the polls on Sunday in the second round of legislative elections—consisting of runoffs between candidates

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

French voters will go to the polls on Sunday in the second round of legislative elections—consisting of runoffs between candidates who received votes from at least 12.5% of their constituency’s electorate.

Following last week’s first round, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La Republique En Marche (REM) and its allies are projected to win at least 400 seats in the 577-member legislature.

With a majority that commanding, Mr Macron and Eduoard Philippe, his centre-right prime minister, will be empowered to implement an ambitious reform agenda. Their first priority will be labour market liberalisation aimed at reducing unemployment, which stands at nearly 10%. This will include giving individual firms more power in negotiating wages and hours, ending the current system of inflexible sector-wide agreements.

Mr Macron will not be without opposition. Labour unions are expected to vigorously oppose the devolution of power to businesses. Tens of thousands took the streets in union-led protests against similar reforms last year; they will likely do so again.

REM’s landslide victory will be clouded by a high abstentions rate; only 48% of the electorate voted in the first round—the lowest turnout in modern history.