Monday, June 19, 2017

Macron's Reign Will be Bloody and Enormously Unpopular

After the first round of voting for the France's National Assembly, the adulatory pro-Macron reporting noticeably shifted to one of foreboding. Macron's nascent La République En Marche! might clean up in the second round, but clearly, because of record low turnout, it did not have a mandate.

According to Alissa Rubin, Aurelien Breeden and Benoit Morenne in "Emmanuel Macron’s Party and Allies Win Big in France":
The record-low turnout, about 43 percent, dimmed Mr. Macron’s victory and pointed to the tentative, even ambivalent, view of many French citizens toward his promises to transform France.
“Many people are in a state of uncertainty, a ‘wait and see,’” said Luc Rouban, a professor at the Center for the Study of French Political Life at Sciences Po.
“The level of abstention in the second round is a sign that a large part of the working-class electorate are not going to vote anymore,” Mr. Rouban said, describing the sense of alienation evident in the abstention as “an invisible fracture” separating the poorest and more modestly off members of French society from the rest.
Mr. Macron’s opponents seized on the abstention rate to try to discredit his victory. The leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said the abstention level was “crushing,” adding, “Our people have entered into a form of civic general strike.” He suggested that with such a high number of people declining to vote, the government was robbed of its legitimacy.
En Marche! ended up winning 351 out of 577 seats, more than enough to reduce pensions and roll back labor law. The French are about to be treated to some Greek austerity. The concern in the legacy media is that large street protests are inevitable given the record level of abstention. The ranks of En Marche! are populated by neophytes. There is no indication that a rejuvenation of neoliberalism is in the making. In fact, every indication is that Macron's reign will be bloody and enormously unpopular.

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