French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Monday that her party’s extraordinary surge in the country’s parliamentary election on Sunday is a “historic victory” and a “seismic event” in French politics, The Associated Press reported.
Many voters in Sunday’s poll opted for far-right or far-left candidates, denying President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance a straight majority in the National Assembly.
Le Pen’s National Rally got 89 seats in the 577-member parliament, up from a previous total of eight. On the other side of the political spectrum, the leftist Nupes coalition, led by Jean-Luc Melenchon, won 131 seats to become the main opposition force.
Macron’s centrist alliance Together! won the most seats — 245 — but fell 44 seats short of a straight majority in the National Assembly, France’s most powerful house of parliament.
“Macron is a minority president now. … His retirement reform plan is buried,” Le Pen declared on Monday in Hénin-Beaumont, her stronghold in northern France, where she was reelected for another five-year term in the parliament. “It’s a historic victory (…) a seismic event.”
“We are entering the parliament as a very strong group and as such we will claim every post that belongs to us,” she added. Le Pen also said National Rally will seek to chair the parliament’s powerful finance committee, one of the eight commissions that oversee the national budget.
The election marks not only a symbolic defeat for Macron, but will also make the president’s plans for tax cuts and an increase in the age of retirement difficult to win parliamentary backing.