Dr Itay Lotem, Postdoctoral Fellow in French Language and Culture, has recently written a blog for the Huffington Post discussing the French legislative elections and assessing President Macron’s first weeks in government.

In his blog, Dr Lotem drew comparisons between the legislative elections and the recent UK general elections asserting that they both had one thing in common: On first glance, the two elections could not be any more different. The British electorate delivered a hung parliament, while the French legislative elections marked the rise and rise of Emmanuel Macron’s centrist wave. Nonetheless, these elections have one thing in common. Both campaigns, usually defined by the mathematics of winning seats, were fought as referendums on one person, whether Theresa May in Britain or Emmanuel Macron in France.”

Dr Lotem also mentioned the high number of MPs seats President Macron’s party managed to win: “The last time such a large unknown force entered the French parliament was in 1919, when it was overrun by 369 MPs of the then National Bloc, mostly fresh veterans from the war trenches. Even after de Gaulle’s takeover and launch of the new Fifth Republic in 1958, his newly formed party (UNR) ‘only’ managed to win of 206 MPs, which sufficed to become the country’s largest parliamentary force.”

Macron’s undeniable success still did not prevent the press from quickly highlighting his flaws and implying that his victory was helped with anti-Le Pen votes rather than with actual support.

Concluding, Dr Lotem said that the French President could embody a sentiment of renewal and change amongst French citizens: “He tapped into the need for change and renewal. These elections tell a story of generational uncertainty. Macron’s promise of ‘newness’ speaks to the squeezed generation of the middle, men and women in their late twenties to their early forties who have spent years fighting against a system that favoured the old and left too few opportunities for the young.”

Read the full blog on the Huffington Post official website.

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