Emmanuel Macron’s movement won by a landslide the first round of the French legislative election, held in North America last weekend. There is a real danger the domination of the En Marche ! movement will change the nature of the Republic.
Macron’s candidate Roland Lescure came away with 57.53% of the votes in the United States and Canada, putting him 43 points in front of his Republican adversary, outgoing representative Frédéric Lefebvre. In fact, outgoing politicians have been beaten across the board. But paradoxically, the future members of congress are relatively unknown to voters, and have promised little more than to support France’s young new president. This phenomenon will most likely be comparable (although less pronounced) in mainland France, where voters are more familiar with the candidates.
French history offers few precedents of a parliament massively in support of the president, with the exception of Charles de Gaulle in 1959. There is a real danger the domination of the En Marche ! movement will change the nature of the Republic. France will become totally presidentially led, without an opposition — differing greatly from the United States, where parties in Congress make good use of their autonomy against Donald Trump, even if they are Republicans.
Judges and the media in America are able to moderate, and even block, initiatives from their president, but the same cannot be said for France. No one fears that Macron might tend toward the despotic; we merely hope he will put his absolute power to best use. However, we should be reminded that the French Constitution allows for no restriction to the ever-possible excesses of a president. The head of state can also govern via rulings and referendums, moving the presidency further away from a much-needed democratic balance.
Whether voters are for or against Macron, the French Constitution is in dire need of reform. The check and balance system is a French invention credited to Montesquieu, who inspired the Founding Fathers to adopt the same concept. Today, it should be an inspiration for the people of France.