The one thing everyone can agree on is that the outcome of the second round of the French legislative elections was inédit, unprecedented. It was utterly unexpected, too. Emmanuel Macron had every reason to believe after his re-election on 24 April that the legislative ballot would conform to precedent, with the presidential alliance coasting to victory. Since the introduction of the five-year presidential term in 2002 and the alignment of the electoral calendars, the freshly elected head of state has been all but guaranteed a comfortable legislative majority. Parliamentary elections became an afterthought to the all-important presidential contest, reflected in the ever increasing abstention rate, which reached a historic 52.5 per cent in the first round this year on 12 June.
There was general relief, in France and further afield, on Sunday, when Emmanuel Macron was projected to win the second round of the French presidential election. The polls in the final week of the campaign all showed him opening up a 10 to 14 point lead over Marine Le Pen – especially after last Wednesday’s debate, in which he was thought to have the upper hand – but worries had set in during the latter half of March among hard-headed analysts as well as inveterate hand-wringers.