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EuropeDissolution of the French National Assembly by Macron: Context and Consequences

Dissolution of the French National Assembly by Macron: Context and Consequences

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Lahcen Hammouch
Lahcen Hammouchhttps://www.facebook.com/lahcenhammouch
Lahcen Hammouch is a Journalist. Director of Almouwatin TV and Radio. Sociologist by the ULB. President of the African Civil Society Forum for Democracy.

Emmanuel Macron has decided to dissolve the National Assembly following a significant defeat for the presidential majority in the 2024 European elections. The decision comes against a backdrop in which the Rassemblement National (RN) won around 33% of the vote, significantly outperforming the other parties, including Macron’s party, represented by Valérie Hayer, which only received 15% of the vote.

Background to the decision

The dissolution of the French National Assembly was a direct response to the electoral rout of the presidential party. Under Article 12 of the French Constitution, the President of the Republic may dissolve the National Assembly after consulting the Prime Minister and the Presidents of the two Houses of Parliament, although he is free to do so even in the event of disagreement. This measure is often used as a tool to resolve political crises or to try to regain a more favourable parliamentary majority.

Strategic reasons

  1. Weakening of the Presidential Majority: The presidential majority suffered a stinging defeat in the European elections. The polls had predicted this debacle, indicating a rise in power of the RN. The dissolution therefore appears to be an attempt to reconstitute a new, more stable majority within the Assembly.
  2. Confronting the RN with the Reality of Power: Emmanuel Macron hopes that, if the RN gains a majority or a strong presence in the Assembly, the reality of managing public affairs will wear down their popularity. By potentially appointing Jordan Bardella as Prime Minister, Macron is betting on the political wear and tear the RN could suffer by taking on government responsibilities.
  3. Take back the political initiative: By dissolving the Assembly, Macron is attempting to regain the political initiative. This decision surprised not only his opponents but also some members of his own majority. It allows him to redefine the terms of political debate and mobilise his supporters for the next legislative elections.

Consequences and outlook

  1. New legislative elections : The dissolution leads to the organisation of new legislative elections, set for 30 June and 7 July 2024. These elections are crucial in determining the new composition of the National Assembly and, consequently, the country’s political direction for the coming years.
  2. Majority scenarios: According to the polls, the RN could win between 243 and 305 seats, which would put it close to or above the absolute majority of 289 seats. Emmanuel Macron’s party is predicted to win 117-165 seats, compared with 246 at present. These forecasts show a potential unprecedented cohabitation if the RN were to win a majority.
  3. Impact on the Government: Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, appointed five months ago, is also affected by this crisis. Although he remains in office for the time being, he could resign after the legislative elections if the majority is no longer on the presidential side, thus launching a new period of cohabitation or a change of prime minister.

Conclusion

The decision to dissolve the National Assembly is a bold political manoeuvre on the part of Emmanuel Macron, aimed at regaining a parliamentary majority and weakening the RN by confronting them with the reality of power. The new legislative elections in June and July 2024 will be decisive for France’s political future and Macron’s ability to govern effectively until the end of his term.

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