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France parliament election results

June 19, 2017

République en Marche, Macron’s newly formed centrist party, together with its bloc partner party MoDem, comes away with something like 60%+ of the seats. This gives France’s incoming government the green light to potentially make substantial changes, for better or worse. Presumably, economic reforms (i.e., privatization) are to come. Half of France’s GDP is tied to the government sector, so how this is done will definitely have consequences. There is also the possibility of a more assertive foreign policy for the EU’s largest military power – something that in the recent past was embodied by Libya, for example.

Other remarks:

  • The Socialists were nearly wiped out – in a formal sense. If you think of LREM as a rebranding of the same old parties, then in fact the same old just got streamlined.
  • Abstention was a historic high, but in line with the steadily decreasing turnout trend of the past 20 years, for French parliamentary elections. So in reality, this is not that special.
  • Also I want to note that France has single-seat districts, so there is not proportional representation, although there are runoffs so it’s not as antiquated a system as the US Congress. Some more detail here (wiki). Note for instance that LREM got 28% of votes in the first round (33% with its bloc partner party), but by the end of the second round, picked up just about all the minor parties and came away with a huge total in seats (the only exception being FN voters who presumably went Republican in the 2nd round). In contrast, PS, FN, and LFI came up with substantially fewer seats than they would have under proportional representation (at least assuming people would vote the same in a PR system as they did in the first round of a runoff sytem, which is not certain). Although in this case, this kept FN out, to rely on an undemocratic structure simply makes it possible to avoid doing the work to build a society which doesn’t vote for far right parties, and of course it lets one or two parties monopolize government.

Next, we will look to see what happens in Germany. Probably more CDU/CSU. Then Italy next year probably.



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