France: Good News and Bad News

11 Temmuz 2024 Perşembe

Now, the bad news: NR increased its seat count by 60 percent compared to 2022. France is still "on the brink of something terrifying."

The Agenda: Governance Crisis

The election results have produced a parliament where no alliance has a majority. The NPF, led by the France Unbowed (FI) party, along with the Socialists, Greens, and Communists, won 182 seats. Macron’s centrist "Together" alliance follows with 168 seats, and the NR has 143 seats. The Republicans secured 60 seats.

In this fragmented landscape, forming a stable government is impossible. In the near future, a shaky coalition government or a technocratic administration seems likely. France appears to have returned to the instability of the post-war Fourth Republic.

Le Pen’s NR did not become the largest parliamentary bloc but increased its seats from 89 to 143. This rise highlights the deep divisions within French society and shows that the NR remains a serious threat.

The NPF's victory demonstrates that only a leftist coalition can stop fascism. However, this coalition is still very fragile. There are significant ideological differences between the FI and its partners—the Socialists, Greens, and Communists. These differences pose a major obstacle to forming and governing a coalition. Additionally, the NPF’s policy proposals, such as reversing Macron’s pension reforms, raising the minimum wage, and reintroducing the wealth tax, worry the dominant capital. These concerns (and, of course, attempts at blackmail) could trigger capital flight. If the NPF insists on its program, it risks greater economic and political instability. If it compromises, it risks disintegration and losing the support of the working class. Prolonged political negotiations and the possibility of a technocratic government could disrupt big capital's plans and slow economic growth, impacting not only France but the broader Eurozone as well.

What If the National Rally Becomes the Main Opposition?

In this unstable environment, as the economic crisis deepens, Le Pen's increasing parliamentary presence provides a strong platform to challenge the government, potentially creating instability in the parliamentary political landscape. If the NR becomes the main opposition, nationalist, xenophobic, and anti-immigrant debates, as well as geopolitical issues like Ukraine, will deepen. This could lead to inevitable fascist-anti-fascist clashes, escalating to a decisive moment.

In this environment, the NR’s pressure could force mainstream parties to adopt more right-wing, uncompromising positions on key issues, further shifting the political balance to the right. This scenario would deepen polarization in French politics, making it harder to form the broad-based coalitions necessary for effective governance.

A People's Front Government

Despite its victory, the NPF faces a challenging task in forming a government. The divisions within the coalition and Mélenchon's leadership style complicate negotiations with potential partners. Even if the NPF secures the premiership, governing with a small majority or a minority government will require constant negotiation and compromise, forcing the NPF to make unpalatable concessions. The resistance from the cultural industry, security, and state bureaucracy to the NPF's social policies and the forms this resistance takes will be crucial. Those who forget the class characteristics of the capitalist state will eventually pay the price for this forgetfulness.

The election results prevented fascism from shaping the government, but political instability with economic impacts is on the agenda. The response of the business community will be crucial in shaping the country's economic future, with the threat of capital flight posing a significant risk. As France navigates these turbulent times, the resilience of its democratic institutions and the strength of the left-wing movement's resistance will be tested more than ever. France is still "on the brink of something terrifying."

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