Vote in the French Senate: Macron′s En Marche! disappointed as conservatives retain majority | News | DW

After suffering a dismal presidential campaign earlier this year, France’s conservative Republicans enjoyed a strong performance in Sunday’s senatorial election. The Conservatives will benefit from 150 seats in the French Senate until 2020.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République En Marche! (LREM), which was only created last year, ended up getting just 23 seats, significantly less than the 50 it was aiming for.

The result reflects Macron’s decline in popularity, both with the public and lawmakers, following his assumption of the presidency less than five months ago.

“Voters have clearly shown that they want a parliamentary counterweight, which in my view is vital for a balanced democracy,” said Gérard Larcher, President of the French Senate.

François Patriat, the boss of En Marche! in the Senate, refused to appear disappointed. “We started with a blank page,” he said. “The real senatorial election of En Marche! will take place in 2020 when we will have municipal councilors, regional councilors and local elected officials.

About half of the 348 Senate seats were up for grabs in Sunday’s election.

Senators are not chosen by public vote but are elected by politicians, including mayors, lawmakers and local councilors. Many of these officials are unhappy with Macron’s proposals to cut subsidies to local authorities.

While the result may undermine Macron’s legitimacy, it likely won’t stop the president from pushing through his business-friendly economic reform proposals, which have the backing of a majority of Republicans.

Harsh test as Macron seeks to remove a third of parliamentarians

However, one proposal that could face stiff opposition is Macron’s call to reduce the number of parliamentarians by a third. This would require the consent of three-fifths of the National Assembly and the Senate, or around 555 votes.

Read more: What are the labor reforms of French President Emmanuel Macron

The president could count on the support of 400 parliamentarians, including 313 from his own party. However, he would still need to convince nearly 160 senators to support his plan, which will be much more difficult to find.

Macron has previously indicated that if his proposal finds itself at an impasse, he will submit it to the public in a referendum.

dm / kl (AP, AFP)

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