- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party swept the first round of French parliamentary elections, winning 28 percent of the vote, well above the 12.5 percent needed to advance to the second round — and enough for experts to say the president’s party, roughly a year old, is on track to have a parliamentary majority.
Some — notably, the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the far-right Marine Le Pen — complained about voter abstention. And, at under 50 percent, voter turnout was indeed low. But it was mostly Mélenchon and Le Pen’s voters who stayed away from the polls. And those who turned out did not seem any more enthusiastic about traditional political parties than they did in the presidential election, where both the center-left and center-right parties fared poorly, but did seem willing to give Macron a chance be the change they wish to see in France if empowered by parliamentary support. The exact number of seats will be determined in the run-off round next Sunday.
Across the channel, British Prime Minister Theresa May continued to deal with the fallout from last week’s snap elections, appointing political rival Michael Gove to be environment secretary (a seemingly odd choice, given that he’s on record saying wildlife protection should be slashed and tried to get climate change removed from school curricula), getting rid of former advisors Fiona Hill and and Nick Timothy, and reportedly fending off a leadership challenge from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, despite WhatsApp messages to the contrary.
Someone who may not be walking down Downing Street any time soon: President Donald Trump, who British media says has postponed his visit to the United Kingdom until he can be sure he won’t be greeted with large protests, a difficult guarantee to make, given that British citizens have a right to free assembly, and that Trump is wildly unpopular there.
And so Trump will, for now, stay stateside, where he is expected to reverse former President Barack Obama’s policy on engagement with Cuba this Friday in Miami.
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