A lot, a real lot, now rests on promised work reforms

Simon Heffer, the renowned political commentator and historian, turns his gaze to French politics

The clear-out of the Assemblée Nationale accomplished by the victory of Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche (REM) and MoDem on June 18 is one of the larger in French history.

The number of seats won [308], however, is well behind those of right-wing coalitions in 1958, 1993 and 2002; and the Bloc National, which won power in 1919 with over 400 seats on an anti-Bolshevik platform and the slogan “Make Germany Pay”. Making Germany pay partly led to Hitler’s rise; the Bloc National had gone by then, losing the 1924 election because of French economic decline under its stewardship. It is a lesson M Macron should note: a huge mandate is no guarantee of delivering on promises, or of things going well. And an abstention of 57 per cent in the second round should concern him deeply, for it suggests that most of France, while fed up with the old political class, finds little ...

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