Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/952/25636

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 June 2017

France - Huge voter abstention belies Macron's 'landslide' election

Anti-worker French president Emmanuel Macron, photo by kremlin.ru/CC

Anti-worker French president Emmanuel Macron, photo by kremlin.ru/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Clare Doyle, Committee for a Workers' International

Amid the trumpeting about a massive vote for the party of the new president, Emmanuel Macron, in the first round of France's parliamentary election on 11 June, a deep malaise pervades French society. This is indicated by a record number of voters staying away from the polling booths; less than half of the electorate turned out.

Macron's newly formed party, LREM (La République en Marche), may end up after the 18 June second round with 445 of the Assembly's 577 seats - "potentially the biggest majority since president Charles de Gaulle's conservatives and allies got 80% of seats in 1968" as Reuters commented (after 58% of the votes in the first round). But that was on a nearly 80% turnout.

It should also be remembered that it was a Pyrrhic victory as, within a year, a national referendum on which de Gaulle staked his future went against him and he retired from political life.

The 6.3 million votes for LREM is far less than Hollande achieved in 2012 (10.3 million for the presidential majority in the first round) or Sarkozy in 2007 (11 million).

Macron was the first choice for president of less than 25% of voters. His vote of just 16% of those eligible to vote is actually less than the proportion of Britain's electorate who voted for the party of the hapless Theresa May.

The right-wing Republicans came second with 15.77% and Le Pen's Front National got 13.2%. Marine le Pen came top of the poll in her northern constituency of Henin-Beaumont (North), but may be defeated by the kind of 'anti' vote which saw Macron defeat her in the second round of the presidential election.

Her party could end up with no more than four seats in parliament. 15 are needed to form a parliamentary group with rights to be able to speak at each session and propose laws.

France Insoumise is the organisation of Jean-Luc Mélenchon who, with his pro-worker and anti-capitalist programme, won seven million votes in the presidential election, nearly reaching the second round.

It, too, is hoping for enough seats to form a parliamentary group. With 11% of the first round votes for parliament, it fared better than the ill-fated so-called Socialist Party (PS).

The vote for the previously governing pro-capitalist PS collapsed from 29.35% to 7.4% (9.5% with allies).

The party's presidential candidate, Francois Hamon, was defeated in his constituency as was the PS secretary, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, who acknowledged that the first round marked an "unprecedented" setback for the party which was expected to get between 30 and 40 seats in total.

The future of the party is in the balance. As Gauche Révolutionnaire - the CWI affiliate in France - has explained, there could be a three-way split and an eventual disappearance of the one-time social democratic party that had both the president and a parliamentary majority until two months ago.

It was the refusal of the PS to take on the French bosses and the banks and make them pay for the economic crisis that saw workers, young people and sections of the middle class involved in a mass movement of strikes and demonstrations in the spring of last year.

Mass discontent

Macron, with a background in banking and no party allegiance, had been taken into the Hollande government as Minister for the Economy to assist in pushing through the deeply unpopular changes to the country's labour law.

Now, as president, he has declared his intention to continue on this path and get new laws ensuring 'flexible labour markets' rammed through by presidential measures in June and ready for full adoption in September.

The trade union leaders have warned him to 'go slowly' on these plans, and there is some talk of protests in June, before the big shutdown of the summer holidays. But much more should be done.

Macron has been presented in the capitalist press internationally as neither left nor right, but his programme is blatantly pro-business - continuing attacks on the welfare state while lowering taxes on the rich.

He has also announced plans for France's state of emergency to be permanently written into law.

As Rachel Mahé of Gauche Révolutionnaire said in a post-election speech to those who supported her candidacy on behalf of France Insoumise in Drôme, southern France: "Macron's policies will amount to a 'social coup d'état'. Mass resistance must be built from today onwards!"

Rachel got a very creditable 10% of the vote - the highest score of the 'left' candidates in her constituency - far more than the Communist Party (who had refused to make an alliance with her, despite the proposal of a joint ticket) or the PS.

There can be all sorts of deals and realignments for the second round of elections on 18 June. There will be a big push for more people to go out and vote.

But, as Gauche Révolutionnaire has said, given the mass discontent among workers, the continuing industrial battles taking place, the counter-reforms in education and the lack of jobs for young people, the more important battles will be in the workplaces and on the streets.

The political follow-up consists in elaborating how a new left force can build on the success of Mélenchon's movement and arguing for clear socialist policies that can gather support and destroy the apparent invincibility of the Macron phenomenon.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 14 June 2017:


Socialist Party news and analysis

City bosses' £40m bonuses as Number of food banks hits 2,000

Low-paid work till lunch to make rent

Young workers in unions earn 20% more

Corbyn surge beats Trump


General election 2017

May and Tories must go!

Northern Ireland: DUP propping up the Tories

Scotland - SNP loses but Labour could've won more

Wales: Corbyn's left surge refutes right-wing Labour doomsayers

General election: what you thought about it

Corbyn's support increases further during last week of campaign

Rallying in support of Corbyn's policies

Large turnout to hear Jeremy Corbyn


International socialist news and analysis

France - Huge voter abstention belies Macron's 'landslide' election

International news in brief


Socialist Party workplace news

NSSN conference: workers' action to kick out the Tories

GMB conference: angry mood from delegates

LSE victory

Window strikers joined by second plant

Exploited agency workers organise


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

The fight goes on - let's make it a socialist fight to win

Racist EDL humiliated for third time

From Militant to the Socialist Party


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 June 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

France:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleFrench Labour reform protests

triangleFrench elections: Macron's win

triangleFrench elections: time to build a fighting left alternative

triangleFrance: Macron won't solve economic & social crises

Election:

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangleCorbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

Workers:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

Capitalist:

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

Sarkozy:

triangleFrance: Burkini ban fuels division

CWI:

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The work of CWI members around the world

Marine Le Pen:

triangleMélenchon result shows potential for building a mass left force

International

International

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2