Left-wing voters helped Emmanuel Macron defeat far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen in the runoff vote of France’s presidential election in April, making him the first head of state since 2002 to get a second term. However, now the French National Assembly is up for reelection a mere two months after the presidential vote. The schedule of the parliamentary election was changed in the early 2000s to avoid so-called “cohabitation”—the partisan gridlock that resulted from having a different party control the legislative branch than the one holding the executive branch. In the French system, the National Assembly (equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives) approves the government—and thus the prime minister—while the president retains the right to veto legislation. Cohabitation took place in France in 1986-1988, 1993-1995, and 1997-2002. The constitution was changed to bring both elections closer together and assure that the president always had a comfortable majority.
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