Although the margin of victory wasn’t quite as expected, Emmanuel Macron’s young political party, La République en March, has won a clear majority in the French parliamentary elections, giving the President a wide berth to pursue his agenda.
This is, obviously, great news for the recently elected President (or as the French say, Président) of France. Macron is in an especially unique position because since his party is so young, and since many of the new MPs have relatively little political experience, he is going to have almost complete control over the ideological direction of his party and the government.
Interestingly, his party isn’t as ideologically focused as, say, the Front National. LREM is meant to encompass a range of ideologies that support France’s membership in the EU, liberal social policies, and capitalism with social protections.
This is probably good news for France, and it’s definitely good news for fans of the EU. Assuming Merkel’s party does well in Germany’s next election, the two de facto leading EU countries will be going into the Brexit negotiations with some strong electoral mandates and in a general position of power, especially with Theresa May having some electoral difficulties recently.
Generally speaking, it looks like Euroskepticism has reached its peak in France and perhaps Western Europe generally. The far-right has taken a hit because of Trump’s bad press (among other things), and the biggest loser in all of this in Vladimir Putin. Euroskeptic parties, particularly the FN, have tended to have more favorable views on Russia. Surely, Putin was hoping for a Europe that might look the other way if he made more official moves to annex eastern Ukraine, so it looks like he’ll have to stick to the current strategy of faking a rebellion.
I’ve also heard some talk about Macron and France emerging as the new “leaders of the free world” in the apparent vacuum of leadership left by Trump and his anti-globalist views. While I think it would take a lot longer than 4 or 8 years for the US to lose its #1 prestige, but it’s likely that France steps up to lead a lot more international initiatives in the future, particularly environmental stuff. When it comes to multilaterally fighting terrorism, however, I think America will remain top dog.
So congratulations to M. Macron, who seemingly can’t miss ever since he was 15 years old.