With its nautical boutiques, trim lawns and tennis club, the seaside town of Le Touquet is the weekend refuge for the bourgeoisie of northern France. Set in deep conservative country, the town is run by a centre-right Republican mayor, Daniel Fasquelle, and voted overwhelmingly for François Fillon, the Republican candidate defeated in the first round of the presidential election earlier this year. For ten years, Mr Fasquelle has also been a parliamentary deputy. Back in January, the town expected to bring a welcome end to five years of Socialist rule in France, and a return to conservative order. Yet at a first-round ballot on June 11th for a new parliament, the good folk of Le Touquet put an unknown entrepreneur, Thibaut Guilluy, into the lead, pushing their mayor into second place and a run-off vote on June 18th. Mr Guilluy belongs to an army of novice candidates standing for President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République en Marche! (LRM) who, without pike or pitchfork, are mounting a peaceful revolution in democratic politics.
Mr Macron’s political movement, created just 14 months ago, took 32% of the vote, ten points ahead of the Republicans. This puts it on course to win a crushing majority at the run-off with more than 400 of the 577 National Assembly seats (see chart)—one of the biggest under the Fifth Republic—that would squeeze the Republicans, sideline the far right and far left, and all but wipe out the Socialist Party, which could lose 90% of its seats.
For Le Touquet, which considers Mr Macron a local son, this would be a particularly symbolic victory. He and his wife, Brigitte, have a second home in the resort, were married there and are regular visitors. The presidential jet landed on Le Touquet’s small airstrip so that he could vote at the town hall. “Everyone knows him here,” says a local by the sea front: “He’s never arrogant; people want to give him a chance.” The family link does not stop there. Mr Guilluy’s deputy, Tiphaine Auzière, is Mr Macron’s stepdaughter.
Full Article: Emmanuel Macron’s democratic revolution.