Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE) French President Macron has suffered his first electoral defeat in the French senatorial elections. Every three years half of the Senate seats come up for re-election through indirect elections. The electorate is made up of mayors and councilors form all levels of local and regional government.
Macron’s party, LREM, started with 29 votes and now have only 24. The politically battered Centre Right Republicans on the other hand increased their representation from 142 to 179. It is clear that Macron is no longer a name to conjure with and that the effects of the electoral tsunami that swept him to power is receding as the old parties begin to regather their wits.
The cold reality of Macron’s expenditure cuts in local government and the abolition of the local tax that gave mayors their independence is obviously a factor. There was also a feeling that this very bumptious young man needed putting in his place.
The result will complicate his electoral program, as the Senate has powers to revise and therefore delay legislation. Macron’s proposed sweeping constitutional reforms, which require a two thirds majority in the Senate as well as the National Assembly, can now only be passed with the negotiated help of other parties.
There may be some wheeling and dealing to get certain Senators to join LREM and the final situation will be known when a new President is elected on October 2nd. However, nothing can change the fact that Macron has revealed himself to be politically mortal just like any other politician.