Macron attempting to salvage a stable government following election shortfall

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a statement as he visits NATO forces at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, near the city of Constanta, Romania, June 15, 2022. Yoan Valat/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The centrist camp of French President Emmanuel Macron hurried on Monday to seek backing from parliamentary rivals to salvage some of his reform plans and avert political stagnation following their electoral defeat.

Macron's "Ensemble" coalition won the most seats in the 577-member National Assembly. Still, it fell far short of an absolute majority in Sunday's vote, dominated by a left-wing alliance and the far-right.

In France, there is no screenplay for how events should unfold.

Government spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire told France Inter radio, "It's going to be complicated," "We will have to be resourceful.

"What I fear most is that this country be blocked," she added.

Macron has not yet commented on the election outcome.

A crucial question is whether he will attempt to form a coalition with the conservative Les Republicains, who have thus far rejected that option, or whether he will engage in bill-by-bill negotiations with his opponents.

"We will try to bring others on board with us, especially to convince the few moderates in parliament to follow us," Gregoire said, adding that Macron will restructure his cabinet in the coming days.

If no agreement can be reached, the second-largest economy in the eurozone will risk political paralysis.

Parliament is fractured, with a broad leftwing alliance and, opposed to it, the largest ever-elected far-right faction. If Macron cannot garner sufficient support to make things work, France may be forced to hold early elections in the future.

Gregoire stated that the government would present a cost-of-living bill to MPs in eight days when the new parliament convened for the first time.

Over the summer, suggestions on renewable energy will test the cohesiveness of Jean-Luc Melenchon's broad socialist alliance, which is divided on the issue of nuclear power.

According to the final tally, Macron's center-left coalition received 131 seats, the far-right 89 seats, and Les Republicains 61 members, significantly short of the 289 needed to dominate parliament. The Nupes alliance received 131 seats, the far-right 89 seats, and Les Republicains 61 seats.

Unpleasant Setback

The result was a bitter blow for Macron, who was re-elected in April and is 44 years old. In his second and final term, he intends to strengthen European Union integration, increase the retirement age, and revitalize France's nuclear industry.

Macron's Ensemble alliance and Les Republicains share similar economic policies, which include raising the retirement age and supporting nuclear power. Collectively, they would enjoy total majority support.

However, legislators from Les Republicans indicated they were not yet willing to join.

Aurelien Pradie, secretary-general of the Republicans, told franceinfo radio, "Forget about this idea that there is some sort of imperative to choose between Emmanuel Macron and the extremists,"

"The Republicans' position in parliament will be free and independent."

Under Pressure

The outcome had minimal effect on the euro and stocks during Monday's early trading session, indicating that financial markets mostly shrugged it off. French bond spreads experienced some widening.

Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann wrote in a note, "The hope that some foreign exchange traders placed in Macron in 2017 evaporated some time back, so that election victories or defeats do not play a major role for the euro exchange rates any longer,"

Macron's April triumph gave him the first French president to win a second term in two decades, as voters mobilized to keep his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen out of power.

After a first term characterized by a leadership style that Macron compared to that of Jupiter, the all-powerful Roman god, the president must now master the art of consensus-building.

"Such a fragmented parliament will likely result in political deadlock, with a much slower reform agenda, possibly leading to vote of no confidence and/or a dissolution of the National Assembly over the coming year," said Philippe Gudin of Barclays.

This will undoubtedly damage France's influence in Europe and threaten the country's already fragile budgetary condition.

Publish : 2022-06-20 19:09:00

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