France’s Trouble Doubled

The elections were supposed to put things right, but France stands more confused than it was a few months ago. Protests and turbulence became so rampant in France that one could only expect elections to change that. However, now we have a Parliament with no clear majority and a coalition so loosely balanced it might break at any time, giving way to the far-right, which is the least desirable outcome for the French people, as the second round of elections has shown. The decisive second round was more of a shock as the far-right lost its early advantage.

The sudden left alliance stole the seats of the right in what could have otherwise been a contest between Macron’s Ensemble and Le Pen’s National Rally. This indicates something very important about the general mood: people wanted an alternative, neither the return of Macron’s chaotic term nor a far-right rule. The left alliance jumped in to offer a choice, but there are so many parties in this alliance that it is natural to expect differences over all policy matters.

These will be troubled waters for France. A strengthened opposition and a loose coalition that struggles to reach unanimity reflect the sharp contrast and division in people’s choices—different segments want different policies, and polarization is stark. How France will navigate this, is difficult to predict.. Immigrants’ lives will hang in uncertainty as the Parliament will hardly settle on the matter. Policy making will be the real test of this new Parliament. After the elections, it’s hard to say that the French people have spoken. Or perhaps they have, but the notes are too muffled to be distinguished.

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