In the first round of France’s parliamentary elections, Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche staged a stunning victory. Although the second (and last) round will be held Sunday, an overwhelming majority is all but guaranteed for the new boy wonder of French politics.
If La Republique en Marche really does end up winning 455 of the 577 seats in France’s National Assembly, then it would be one of the largest parliamentary majorities in France since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
Last year, conservative populism seemed to be on the rise everywhere in the West, from the United States to Europe. Donald Trump won the U.S. election, Geert Wilders’ PVV party seemed on course to become the largest party in the Dutch parliament, Theresa May and her pro-Brexit Tories were, every expert told us, certain to destroy Labour, let alone the Europhile LibDems. And Marine Le Pen’s Front National was going to challenge France’s mainstream parties for hegemony.
Every single one of these predictions fell flat. May lost her majority and is now forced to do business with a small, formerly irrelevant conservative party from Northern Ireland. Le Pen lost the second round of France’s presidential elections to EU-lover Emmanuel Macron. Geert Wilders’ party became only the second largest party in the Netherlands, after which he was immediately told he would not be asked to join a new coalition. Trump won but has been under siege ever since. And now this: the French parliament will almost certainly be changed into Emmanuel Macron’s personal little plaything.