France has no majority. But these policies might.


POLITICO explores which policies are most likely to pass through France's newly divided parliament.

The group of four parties does not have anywhere near the 289 lawmakers required for a majority in the National Assembly.

France - Figure 1

PARIS — Following a surprising election victory, the New Popular Front, a coalition of left-wing parties, is pushing to form a government and put its policy proposals into action.

More easily spoken than accomplished.

The four groups in the coalition are far from reaching the 289 lawmakers needed for a majority in the National Assembly to govern together. According to Green party chief Marine Tondelier, they can only count on about 190-195 MPs for support.

This indicates that, even if they are able to choose a leader and attempt to create a government, the New Popular Front (NPF) would require assistance from other legislators for every decision or face the possibility of being overthrown and substituted by a different government.

Extreme leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has promised to only follow his party's platform to the letter. This seems unreasonable when considering policies such as increasing the minimum wage, supporting Palestinian statehood, and granting work permits or visas to all undocumented workers.

However, there are other aspects of the left's agenda that are more widely accepted and could receive bipartisan backing.

What are the potential policies that could gain support in France's current fragmented parliament? POLITICO examines the choices available.

Axing Macron's Pension Plan

The group of parties on the liberal side of the political spectrum concentrated a large part of their efforts during the campaign on standing against President Emmanuel Macron's least popular change and promised to get rid of it if they come into power — much to the dismay of Macron's supporters and those who prioritize financial responsibility. The previous administration's plan to raise the minimum age for retirement to 64, up from 62, caused many unhappy citizens to take to the streets in protest last year.

This is a unique situation where the left could potentially gain support from their usual enemy, the far right. Despite the National Rally's inconsistent stance on social policies, they still publicly endorse bringing back retirement at age 62. Over the weekend, Laure Lavalette, a prominent figure in the French far right, announced that the RN would vote against Macron's pension reform.

Bringing together politicians from both the far-right and left-wing factions, a total of 330 MPs have expressed support for a bill aimed at reversing the pensions reform, which goes well beyond the 289 seats required for a majority.

Yet, enacting this law with the backing of its political foes may be difficult for the left to accept — especially considering how they criticized Macron for approving a divisive immigration policy with the help of the far-right.

"Securing Funds For Ukraine"

In the race for president, Marine Le Pen of the National Rally party increased the pressure by questioning Macron's authority as the leader of the military. The right-wing candidate emphasized that if her party had won, they would have had the power to shape French foreign policy regarding issues such as the conflict in Ukraine because of their control over the budget.

That possibility can now be disregarded.

The recently elected National Assembly has a strong majority of MPs who support continuing or increasing French assistance to Kyiv. This includes members from the Green and Socialist factions on the liberal side, the coalition backing Macron, and the conservative Les Républicains party.

Some of the more extreme groups on the left, like France Unbowed and the Communists, have hesitated to approve additional money and weapons for Ukraine in the past, citing concerns about increasing the conflict.

They still decided to add a promise in the manifesto of the New Popular Front to strongly protect the independence and freedom of the Ukrainian people and the boundaries of the country, by providing the required weapons, forgiving its international debt, and confiscating the possessions of wealthy businesspeople who support the Russian military actions.

Invest In Renewables, Keep Nuclear Plants

Regarding energy, the new French government might easily come to a decision on some simple and important laws.

France Insoumise and the French Greens are against constructing new nuclear power plants, but almost all other political parties in the French National Assembly agree on maintaining the current fleet of generators.

Another shared agreement between different political parties: increasing the use of renewable energies, specifically hydroelectric power.

Choose Your Own End

The highly anticipated legislation of Macron's second term was unexpectedly put on hold when the president decided to hold impromptu elections.

In May, the National Assembly began discussing a law that would allow medical help for people who choose to end their lives, but only in certain circumstances. The discussion involved passionate, personal arguments from members of parliament on both sides of the issue, with supporters and opponents found in every party represented in the National Assembly.

However, despite opposition, the lower chamber approved a bill that permits individuals over the age of 18 with severe, untreatable, life-threatening, advanced, or terminal illnesses to access euthanasia through self-administration or with the assistance of a healthcare provider.

Macron decided to disband the legislature before the bill was fully voted on, which means the proposal needs to be reviewed again. However, the left-wing alliance that won the election has promised to bring the issue back for discussion. With the current balance of power, there is still a possibility for the bill to pass in the new legislature.

Yet, proposing a controversial law that could widen the gap in the already divided French parliament may not be the new government's initial priority.

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