Dangerous situation for Macron without an absolute majority in the assembly

(Paris) French President Emmanuel Macron was stripped of an absolute majority in the National Assembly on Monday, a setback that heralds a period of instability and delicate political negotiations.

Posted at 6:19 am
Updated at 3:54 p.m

Selim SAHEB ETTABA from AFP’s policy department
Media Agency France

After this legislative earthquake that threatens to make the country ungovernable, on Tuesday and Wednesday the head of state invited to the presidential palace the representatives of the political forces whose vocation is to form the ten groups scheduled for the assembly.

“Once there is no alternative majority, the question arises of how to carry out the necessary transformations for the country. That is the purpose of this meeting with the political forces: dialogue and exchange for the higher interests of the nation and solutions at the service of the French people,” said the head of state’s entourage.

The right-wing movement Les Républicains (LR), as well as the socialist, communist and ecological parties have already reacted positively. They are received one by one by the President.

Macron, who was re-elected in April, discussed the strategy that is to be adopted after the parliamentary elections on Sunday with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who was appointed in mid-May, and two tenors from his coalition.

The centrist-liberal coalition, which had relied on a comfortable absolute majority (fixed at 289 MPs) during Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term, retained just 245 out of 577 seats at the end of the vote.

The rest of the Chamber is mainly divided between the extreme right of Marine Le Pen, opponent of Mr Macron in the second round of April’s presidential elections, which has achieved an unprecedented breakthrough with 89 MPs, and the left, tribune Jean-Luc Mélenchon, united at his initiative (at least 150 deputies according to an updated census) and the classic right (LR).

“Not for sale”

The latter finds itself in the position of an arbitrator with around sixty deputies, to whom the presidential camp immediately turned.

“We will always be in the process of getting on board with us, especially to persuade the moderates present in this Parliament to follow us,” said government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire, explaining that “their obsession is that the country is blocked”. .

Concretely, the presidential coalition must either reach an intergovernmental agreement with other parties, a classic scenario in Germany but unusual in France, or negotiate every law on time.

This configuration puts Parliament back at the center of the political game, a first under the Ve Republic.

“We are not here to block, but we are not for sale,” regional president Xavier Bertrand replied during a meeting of LR, whose management said it wanted to remain in opposition.

redesign

After an initial five-year term marked by divisive episodes such as the 2018-2019 popular “yellow vest” movement, and in a tense international context that weighs on purchasing power, Mr Macron – often referred to as the “president of the rich – does not enjoy a very high level Popularity (56% of the French did not consider him a good head of state, according to an Odoxa poll of May 31).

Presented as the big loser in the election, he must quickly learn his lessons before he gets caught up in a tunnel of international commitments (European Council, G7, NATO summit) from Thursday.

The government formed on May 20 should at least face serious reshuffle, particularly given the electoral defeat of three of its members, including the ministers for environmental transition and health.

The various opposition parties have called on Emmanuel Macron to change politics and government in light of the election results.

Elisabeth Borne was “too weak to remain Prime Minister,” said Louis Aliot, Vice President of the RN.

The same opinion on the part of the left-wing alliance Nupes (New People’s, Ecological and Social Union), which announced “a vote of no confidence” against its government.

But this electoral coalition is also riddled with differences. The leader of the radical left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, proposed that the socialist, communist and ecological parties form a single faction in the assembly, contrary to what was planned in their electoral alliance. But his allies have met him with an end to the ineligibility.

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