First there was the astonishment: 89 deputies elected for the RN, a strong entry of the far right into the National Assembly. “This is the most striking result of the evening, estimated The Guardian, Sunday, June 19 in the evening, after the announcement of the results of the second round of the legislative elections. A historic record for Le Pen’s far-right anti-immigration party.”
But what most foreign commentators have especially underlined, in addition to the flattering score of Nupes – a successful bet for the left, in the almost unanimous opinion of the international press – is the failure of Emmanuel Macron, two months after his re-election, which does not obtain an absolute majority. Result: a fragmented Parliament, the risk of seeing the country become ungovernable and an immense responsibility to come for the entire political class.
Would that be a blessing in disguise? An ultimately salutary shock for French democracy? In some ways, the foreign press is sounding a slightly different voice, past the surprise of the results. It is this quirky look that we wanted to highlight by changing our front page at the last moment.
Admittedly, Emmanuel Macron took a slap, even two slaps (one on the left, the other on the far right, according to the analyses), and he is the only one responsible, the chief arsonist in the eyes of the most foreign commentators. “The National Rally found an unexpected ally in the President of the Republic, who was worried about the advance of the Nupes de Mélenchon, to the point of breaking with the tradition of the ‘republican front’, which would like us to vote in favor of any candidate who faces the far right,” Write the Corriere della Sera.
Same observation for The evening in Brussels : “Emmanuel Macron played with fire, he ends up with a huge fire at the Élysée. The French president emerges groggy from these legislative elections that he snubbed, and… vice versa.”
“Less than two months after his re-election, here he is without an absolute majority, facing a National Assembly which has the merit, at least, of symbolizing the enormous divisions of the country and with a fundamental and distressing question: how and with whom to govern France ?”
This is the question that comes up in all the foreign press, but not only. Like The daily newspaper, in Germany, which wants to believe in a democratic upsurge. “The results of these elections are a victory for parliamentary democracy, write the title. The National Assembly will no longer be limited to the role of registration chamber to which the French presidential system tends to confine it.
The same feeling in the Swiss press, where the Geneva Grandstand insists on the sin of pride of the French president: “Macron wanted to govern alone. He will have to negotiate each of his reforms with the right, the center or the left. The debates promise to be stormy but fascinating in the Assembly. Immobilism is not inevitable. Sunday’s ‘democratic shock’ can be salutary.”
The legislative elections are not a presidential referendum, insists the newspaper, and Emmanuel Macron should not have refused to campaign. For the Geneva Grandstandthe merit of this vote is that it ensures better representation for the French: not superfluous when more than half of the citizens no longer vote.
A more representative Parliament, placed back at the center of political debate and which forces dialogue, stable agreements or, on a case-by-case basis, project majorities, as in Italy, Spain, Switzerland… After all, if others are capable of it, why not the French? For the foreign press, that’s the whole point now. May France relearn parliamentary life. We will see from the first debates in the Assembly, in a few days, if the culture of compromise is an option.
We had initially planned to devote our cover file to the Atlantic Alliance, which was said to be moribund and which the war in Ukraine has in fact revived. Are Washington’s interests the same as those of the Europeans? Nothing is less sure. On the eve of a major NATO summit in Madrid, we are maintaining an important file on the subject in this issue. Good reading !