Abolghassem Delphi in an interview with the site of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations commented on the failure of Macron’s party in the French parliamentary election and its consequences and spelled out:” holding parliamentary election about one month after the presidential election and alternating elections in France, have created a special situation at different presidential election terms in the country, and each term has its own exclusive characteristics”.
He added:” what happened in the parliamentary election was predictable from certain aspects; because Macron won the majority of parliamentary seats during his first presidential term of office and he concluded his first term without any concern and problem with the parliament; the situation had thus, caused sensitivities among French political parties as well as politicians”.
Having stated that in the 2017 French election, traditional left and right parties had almost been driven out of the political scene of the country, the expert in international affairs said:” after the recent presidential election, all leftist parties ranging from radical left to socialist parties, communists and Greens constituted a big coalition aimed at not letting the party “La Republique En Marche” win the majority of votes. Although, in terms of thematic assessment of Macron’s policies, they were very far from each other, they reached an agreement on not letting Macron win an absolute majority in the parliament and gain considerable victory”.
Political Development in France
Delphi continued:” what happened in the 2017 election and 2022 presidential election in which traditional parties were shelved, changed in the last election and they were revived in a way and returned to the political scene. Therefore, the recent election is somehow considered as a development in the political arena of France. The collaboration of leftists and far-left groups along with far-right and Marine Le Pen who managed to win considerable votes in the Presidential election brought them a large number of seats”.
Having stated that Macron oriented seats were sharply reduced from almost over 300 to 250 seats which is far behind the absolute majority of 290 parliament seats, he expressed:” the new combination of seats at the parliament coupled with messages. Through the experience of the French people during the first 5-year of Macron’s tenure of office, they were sending this message that they would not be willing to see the whole authority and legislative power exercised by one single group. They took Macron’s authority by their votes and distributed it among other parties”.
Former Iranian Ambassador to Paris added:” in his remarks, Macron also said he understood the willingness of the French people for changing whatever happened in the past, and he will bring it to consideration”.
Having stated that the second term of Macron’s office will not be as easy as the first term, Delphi noted:” Although Macron was inexperienced and young during the first term but he is expected to employ the experience he collected in order to work in his coalition government. Now, when the results of the parliamentary election have been published, pressures have been mounted on the French government and many believe that in the light of the change in the combination with the parliament, the prime minister does not have the legal status, he does not have the parliament’s vote of confidence and thus he should resign. Otherwise, he has to elaborate and present his policies to the parliament and take the vote of confidence from deputies”.
The Former Iranian diplomat added:” despite Macron rejecting the Prime Minister’s resignation, in the new situation, the prime Minister should retake the vote of confidence. However, three members of his cabinet did not win the necessary votes in the election. Thus, they are no longer members of parliament, and naturally, they should resign; because in France, cabinet members should necessarily be members of the parliament and should have parliamentary backing”.
He stressed:” the pressures will continue to mount and the situation will not be easy for the government and Macron’s party will have to give concession in some cases. Although, we witnessed similar situations during Francois Mitterrand’s tenure of office after the 1988 elections. The then government left the challenge behind by a kind of coalition and reaching an agreement with some political parties and independent personalities”.
Effect of a Coalition Government on the Foreign Policy of France
Having been reminded that the parliamentary election in France, is the arena for confrontation of political parties in connection with domestic as well as political, social, and cultural issues and a field to flex muscles to have more influence, the analyst of international affairs continued:” the foreign policy of France is almost within the authority of the French President, who is the unrivaled player in this field. Therefore, it will not be very much impressed by the new situation”.
According to Delphi, lobbying on issues such as an increase in people’s purchase power, change of business hours and retirement age are among the topics raised for the constitution of a coalition government between the President and the Parliament. He said:” in his second term of office, Europe will remain to be the top priority of French foreign policy. Issues like European integration process and the situation that the EU faces after the Brexit and its consequences, Russian invasion of Ukraine and how its economic, energy, agricultural consequences on Europe will be managed, are all among top priorities of France”.
Former Iranian ambassador to Paris added:” it is unlikely that all parties recently won seats in the Parliament will have challenges with the generalities of such issues. However, the Le Pen party has different views on France’s ties with Russia. She believes that Europe should change the kind of its interactions with Russia, should have constructive interactions with Russia, and do not deal with Russia as a Western bloc among NATO members. These are the issues that to some extent can impress the coalition government which is going to be formed in the future”.
Delphi explained:” Prime Minister’s role in French government is mostly played within general economic and domestic affairs of the country. The Prime Minister does not play any role in important foreign policy dossiers of the country. On issues like Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks, the same routine applies. It is unlikely that under new situation, JCPOA will be impressed too much and be diverted from the present direction”.