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APD REVIEW | Macron stands at peak of power, but challenge is coming

APD | Wed,2017-06-14


By APD commentator Chu Yin

French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party has claimed a sweeping victory in the first round of elections to the National Assembly. Macron's La Republique en Marche (The Republic on the Move, LREM) and its allies took 32.3 per cent of the vote, official figures released on June 11.

Macron’s LREM and its centrist allies have taken 400 to 455 of the assembly's 577 seats after Sunday's second round of run-off votes. Macron’s prestige went sky high, but what would meet him in the coming days is unimaginable hardship.

In contrast, the French traditional centre-left party, former President Hollande’s Socialist Party has got no more than 50 seats, even just 20 seats, being marginalized to a small party.

It can be seen that the traditional supporters of the Socialist Party are likely to turn to the Macron’s La Republique en Marche. Macron's victory should thanks to his predecessor Hollande to a great extent.

During Hollande’s tenure, the administration didn’t take any strong actions against stagnant economy, high unemployment, poor public security and order, frequent robberies in the capital Paris and deadly terrorist attacks.

As early as 2015, many French people predicted that Sarkozy may be back, and even said reluctantly: "Sarkozy is OK, since it is so difficult to find a more stupid people than Hollande."

Macron is young and charming, and has a May-December marriage with his teacher. His Party, La Republique en Marche, is also a newly-established Party with totally different atmosphere.

We can clearly see that French people are longing for change in such a new administration. However the bubble is easily to break up, whatever Macron do, his policy may offend a lot of people.

Currently the biggest social crux of France is the high welfare institution, which has distorted the rule of market, and seriously dampened the national economic vitality.

It results in the low labor efficiency, and high cost of employment as dismissing the employee means paying him/her a lot of money.

In such a situation, everyone knows that the big reform on cutting welfare and releasing the vitality is a must, but the former two governments failed. Sarkozy and Hollande pushed the reforms on labor law, but it led to strong oppositions from its people.

People paraded to protest against the welfare cut, as the result, the two administrations lost the popularity rate and governance.

During his tenure, Macron still has to reform the labor law even other social welfare, and push the crucial role of the market. It can be predicted that Macron`s reform will lower its popularity and be the fodder for attacks.

Therefore, Macron and his administration must have the strong determination to promote the reform. That`s definitely high requirement for the new government.

Formulating any policy has to depend on officials with specialized knowledge and those who specialized in election campaigns are not good at that. With limited political experiences, Macron and those nominated representatives of La Republique en Marche are layman of French politics. So it’s still unknown whether they can cooperate well with the large quantity of local and central officials.

There were also some successful examples of emerging political force, such as the Democratic Party in Japan, but the fact proves that they failed to handle the issues because they are not able to deal with the bureaucratic system.

Even they have good ideas, those officials won’t take things seriously. Besides, the reform may also hurt the interest of the bureaucratic system.

Although it is a paradox, Macron’s administration is required to solve it. The traditional Socialist Party and Republican Party are "decadent", "rigid", and "isolated from the people ", but after all, they are veteran and crafty.

However, the family of Macron’s father-in-law is a large consortium with rich political resources, which may give him strong support.

Chu Yin, Associate professor at University of International Relations, and Deputy director of B&R Institute of Center for China& Globalization.


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