Senate elections show limits to Macron's political land grab

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The events of last weekend have been revealing about the state of French politics and the balance of political power. The elections for the Senate, in which the Right consolidated its position in France's upper chamber, showed the limits and weakness of President Emmanuel Macron's government. At the same time the relatively modest turnout for a protest march in Paris organised by the radical left La France Insoumise highlighted the lack of major political opposition. But as Hubert Huertas says, this does not mean that opposition to the government's measures has melted away.

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For once the elections for France's second chamber, the Senate, offer a genuine guide to the state of play in the nation's politics. Usually these votes, in which senatorial candidates are voted for by existing Members of Parliament, mayors and regional and departmental or county councillors, simply reflect the mood of the past, of the result at the last local elections when the members of this tight-knit electorate were themselves voted into office. Yet this year everything has gone as it usually does – and this has caused a sensation.