Macron’s party takes a hit in French Senate election – The Denver Post

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron’s upstart centrist party suffered its first electoral blow on Sunday, as traditional conservatives dominated Senate elections amid growing disenchantment with Macron’s leadership.

The results undermine Macron’s legitimacy as he seeks to leave his mark on the future of Europe and embarks on a labor law overhaul that he hopes will reinvigorate France’s moribund economy . Truckers plan to block highways and fuel depots on Monday in the latest anti-Macron defiance show.

However, Macron could still push through his reforms despite the election result. That’s because the lower house of parliament has the final say on Senate legislation, and because lawmakers from the conservative Republican Party support many of Macron’s pro-business policy plans.

Official voting results across mainland France showed the Republicans clearly winning Sunday’s vote for around half of the chamber’s 348 seats, followed by the Socialists, traditional centrists and Macron’s aging Republic on the Move. 17 months! Party.

A final count including the French overseas territories is expected in the coming days.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front, embroiled in infighting and a confused strategy since its second-place finish in May’s presidential election, has failed to win a single Senate seat.

Projections by French broadcasters predict that the Republicans will have between 146 and 156 seats in the new Senate, while Macron’s party should have around 22. This is particularly devastating after Macron won the elections in May by a landslide and that his party won a large majority in the June elections for the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

Macron himself did not comment on the embarrassment of the Senate on Sunday, but the Republic on the move! tried to look on the bright side of things.

He noted that the party won Senate seats for the first time since Macron founded it last year, in a bid to attract voters tired of traditional parties and their inability to end chronic unemployment. two digits.

Republic on the move! blamed the indirect voting system for its poor performance on Sunday: Senators are not chosen by the public but by some 75,000 elected officials across the country. Given that Macron’s party was only created in 2016, he is poorly represented among these officials. Also, many of them are unhappy with Macron’s plan to cut local government budgets.

Macron’s party said Sunday’s elections were “by nature more difficult for a young political movement like ours”, and said those who voted on Sunday “have not yet recognized that the French have already exceeded the divisions (traditional politics)”.

The lower house has the final say in shaping France’s laws, but Macron also needs the support of the Senate to quickly deliver on other major changes he has promised, including to unemployment benefits, the pension system and the French Constitution.

While Macron has charmed President Donald Trump and other international allies, the 39-year-old French leader has struggled at home.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Paris on Saturday against Macron’s labor law changes, which they say are dismantling the French way of life. More demonstrations and strikes are on the way.

Macron insists the changes – which reduce the powers of unions and give companies more freedom to fire workers – are needed to create jobs and compete globally.

Macron’s team hope Sunday’s election results won’t undermine France’s influence as he pushes his vision for a post-Brexit Europe in a sweeping political speech on Tuesday. After months in the spotlight as a dynamic new champion of European unity, Macron now risks being overshadowed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, bolstered by her party’s re-election on Sunday.

Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report.

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