France’s Old Parties Suffer Another Blow in European Election
France’s once-dominant center-left and center-right parties still haven’t recovered from their defeat two years ago at the hands of Emmanuel Macron.
The Socialists got only 6 percent support in European elections on Sunday, the same share as the far left. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans got 8.5 percent, down from 21 percent five years ago.
Most of the media attention has gone to the winners: Macron’s liberal-centrist alliance, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and the Greens, who got almost 60 percent support combined. But the collapse of the old parties — and with it an era in French politics — is just as big a story. Read more
France’s Traditional Parties Still Haven’t Recovered from Macron
Two years into Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, France’s old political parties still haven’t recovered.
The Socialists, the party of Jacques Delors and François Mitterrand, are polling at a measly 6 percent for the European elections in May. The Republicans, who trace their political roots to Charles de Gaulle, are at 12 percent. Macron’s En Marche! (“Forward!”) and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally split 40 percent of the vote. The remainder goes to splinter parties on the left and right. Read more
The Financial Times wonders if Austria’s Sebastian Kurz is the savior of Europe’s center-right or an enabler of the far right.
His supporters, including the liberal-minded former prime minister of Finland, Alexander Stubb, see the Austrian as the antidote to Orbanism:
He talks about an open world, internationalism and is pro-European. But he is pragmatic about solving issues. And one of the big issues is immigration.
Critics argue that by taking a hard line on immigration, Kurz is legitimizing the far right. “You don’t fight fire with kerosene,” according to former chancellor and former Social Democratic Party leader Christian Kern. Read more
French Parties Must Figure Out How to Survive in the Era of Macron
Emmanuel Macron has redrawn the political map of France.
There used to be two major parties, one of the center-left (Socialists) and one of the center-right (Republicans), with smaller parties on the far left and far right. Macron’s centrist project, La République En Marche!, has thrown them all in disarray.
France Unbowed is a new far-left party cobbled together by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former communist. Although an improvement over the once hopelessly divided politics of the far left, it doesn’t get more than 20 percent support.
For the Socialists, there isn’t much room between France Unbowed on the left and Macron in the center. Their support is in the single digits.
The Republicans are similarly caught between Macron on the one hand and the National Front on the other, but at least they still have a substantial base of around 20 percent.
The National Front probably hit its ceiling in the 2017 presidential election, when Marine Le Pen got 34 percent support in the second voting round against Macron. Read more
France’s two right-wing parties are struggling to remain united in the era of Emmanuel Macron.
Lawmakers friendly to the president have split from the center-right Republicans to form a new party, Agir (Act).
Prominent Republicans, like Bruno Le Maire and Édouard Philippe, have joined Macron’s government.
More centrists are expected to defect if the hardliner Laurent Wauquiez prevails in a party leadership vote next month.
The far right is also divided: Marine Le Pen’s former right-hand man, Florian Philippot, has created a new party to appeal to blue-collar workers in the rust belt of northern France while the rest of the National Front is focused on its heartland in the socially conservative southeast. Read more