In winning the French presidency in his very first run for office at any level, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron has already pulled off one political miracle. Now the question is whether he can work a second miracle by securing an absolute majority in the National Assembly—a majority he needs if he hopes to enact his ambitious program of reforms. With elections a day away, the odds of success are looking surprisingly good.
Macron chose to run as an independent rather than as a member of either of the two parties that have dominated French politics for the past 40 years, the Socialists on the left and the Republicans (as they now call themselves) on the right. Instead, he formed his own movement, En Marche!, to serve as a presidential vehicle. Since then, he has transformed that movement into a fledgling political party called La République en March (REM); polls show this new organization trouncing all other parties in the first round of the legislative elections on June 11. A recent survey by Ipsos (conducted between June 7 and 8) gives REM 31.5 percent of the first-round vote, followed by the Republicans at 22.5 percent, the far-right National Front (FN) at 17 percent, the far-left France Insoumise at 11.5 percent, and the Socialists slightly exceeding their dismal presidential performance at 8. While the ultimate complexion of the National Assembly will be determined by a second round of voting on June 18, and France’s complicated electoral rules make it difficult to predict the outcome, it seems almost certain that Macron’s REM will capture a majority or close to it.