While the NFP is the largest political force in the National Assembly, it does not have an absolute majority. With 182 seats for the leftist coalition, 168 for President Macron’s centrists and 143 for the far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National, or RN) the Assembly, the lower house, is now divided into three distinct blocs.

Scenario 1: Cohabitation with the NFP

The NFP’s 182 seats make it the biggest parliamentary group, but it is well short of the 289 needed to form a majority in the 577-seat Assembly. Despite lacking an absolute majority, leaders of the NFP alliance called on Macron to appoint a prime minister from their ranks.

In the event of the appointment of an NFP prime minister, France would enter a period of so-called cohabitation – when the president has lost a governing majority in the Assembly and is forced to name a prime minister from another party.

There is the absence of a stable, coherent, homogeneous majority and there is no natural choice for prime minister in these political circumstances. The NFP is now faced with the challenge of deciding on someone to put forward as prime minister.

If an NFP-led government is formed, it could try to force legislation through the Assembly by decree. Article 49.3 of the Constitution allows a bill to be passed without a vote, a procedure that was denounced by both right and left when it was used by Macron, notably to impose pension reform.

Scenario 2: Attal heads a provisional government

Attal remains prime minister for an indefinite period.

Scenario 3: a 'German-style' coalition

The other possibility is that of the formation of a “grand coalition” between different political groups, which would bring together a majority in the Assembly behind a consensus prime minister. This is a regular occurrence in parliamentary democracies like Germany and Italy. However, this consensual approach has never been employed in the Fifth Republic. The idea of a coalition does not seem to have much traction. A possible alliance ranging from the left to the Macron centrists has been regularly ruled out on both sides.For its part, Macron’s party has repeatedly ruled out any alliance with France Unbowed – the leading party of the left alliance with 74 MPs. The idea of an alliance between centrists and the conservatives of Les Républicains (LR) seems equally unlikely. Laurent Wauquiez, a leading figure of the Républicains, which along with other right-wing parties has about 60 seats, has ruled out the involvement of his group in any negotiations, combinations, to build unnatural majorities.

Scenario 4: a minority government

It would be a gamble. A government can theoretically be appointed without the explicit support of an absolute majority of the Assembly. The NFP could theoretically form a minority government, but would need the tacit support of elected representatives of other political parties. The presidential camp could also form a new government but would face the same requirement. In any case, such a minority government would live under the constant threat of a no confidence vote from the Assembly which could force the prime minister to resign. It would struggle to govern and be obliged to seek majorities on a case-by-case basis for each bill. A minority government can work if it’s not too far from a majority. But then there has to be a tacit agreement with the other political forces to let this government get on with the basics of governing, and not just immediately trash it.

Scenario 5: a ‘technocratic’ government

If the situation remains deadlocked, the appointment of a “technocratic” government may be called for. This would involve appointing non-partisan ministers – experts and technocrats – to manage the daily business of government and implement consensual reforms. The arrangement, which is somewhat vague, has never been tried under the Fifth Republic.

Scenario 6: No new dissolution

According to article 12 of the Constitution, “a new dissolution cannot be carried out in the year following” such elections. The new National Assembly’s term in office will continue at least until the summer of 2025.

Scenario 7: Macron resigns

If there is no majority, the solution to the deadlock is for him (Emmanuel Macron) to quit Macron’s resignation seems highly unlikely.  The day after he dissolved the Assembly to call early elections he said he would remain in office “whatever the result” of the vote.


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