Macron seeks allies as new French parliament opens

Macron seeks allies as new French parliament opens

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally is the largest opposition party in parliament. President Emmanuel Macron (r) is struggling to put together a majority
Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally is the largest opposition party in parliament. President Emmanuel Macron (r) is struggling to put together a majority. Photo: Ludovic MARIN / POOL/AFP/File
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see YEN.com.gh News on your News Feed!

France's lower house of parliament reopens Tuesday after an election upset for President Emmanuel Macron whose centrist allies are little closer to building a stable majority, putting Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne's job potentially on the line.

After this month's ballot brought surges for the far right and hard left, opposition forces have made clear that they will not be lured into a lasting arrangement to support Macron's government which is 37 seats short of a majority.

Borne and other senior Macron backers have been trying to win over individual right-wing and moderate left parliamentarians to bolster their ranks, with one MP telling AFP that "the phones are running hot."

But Olivier Marleix, head of the conservative Republicans group seen as most compatible with Macron, said that "we have much better things to do today than selling ourselves piecemeal".

Read also

Macron 'compromise' call meets opposition resistance

"It's about making progress for the French people," he told Europe 1 radio on Monday.

But he added that his MPs would "do everything we can to reach an agreement with the government" on an upcoming draft law to boost households' purchasing power in the face of food and energy inflation.

PAY ATTENTION: check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!

"It's not in the interest of parties who have just been elected" to make a long-term deal to support the government, said Marc Lazar, a professor at Paris' Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po).

First woman speaker

The first days of the new National Assembly will be taken up with elections for the speaker and other senior parliamentary officials and committee chiefs.

Yael Braun-Pivet is expected to become the first woman in French history to take the parliamentary Speaker's chair
Yael Braun-Pivet is expected to become the first woman in French history to take the parliamentary Speaker's chair. Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP/File
Source: AFP

Pro-Macron candidate Yael Braun-Pivet is expected to be the first woman in French history to claim the speaker's chair in a series of votes Tuesday.

Read also

Macron urges 'compromises' to break France impasse

The same day, parties with at least 15 members will be able to form official groups, which enjoy more influence and speaking time.

One key question is whether Thursday's vote to head the Finance Committee -- with its extensive powers to scrutinise government spending -- will be won by an MP from the far-right National Rally (RN).

Led by Macron's defeated presidential opponent Marine Le Pen, the RN would usually have a claim on the post as the largest single opposition party.

It could face a stiff challenge if the NUPES left alliance encompassing Greens, Communists, Socialists and the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) can agree on a joint candidate.

Confidence vote?

Next week could see exchanges heat up in the chamber, as government chief Borne delivers a speech setting out her policy priorities.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Photo: Thomas COEX / POOL/AFP/File
Source: AFP

It is not yet clear whether Borne will call the traditional vote of confidence following her appearance -- which is not strictly required under France's Fifth Republic constitution.

Read also

Confidence vote puts Bulgarian govt's fate in the balance

Macron told AFP at the weekend that he had "decided to confirm (his) confidence in Elisabeth Borne" and asked her to continue talks to find either allies for the government in parliament or at least backing for crucial confidence and budget votes.

Macron has ruled out both tax increases and higher public borrowing in any compromise deals with other parties.

After the president promised a "new government of action... in the first few days of July" once he returns from this week's G7 and NATO meetings in Germany and Belgium, some observers see the compressed calendar as ambitious.

"In all other European countries, when they're in talks to form a government, it can take months" rather than the days Macron has allowed, political scientist Lazar said.

Even as the government projects business almost as usual, hard-left LFI especially has vowed to try to prevent key proposals like a flagship reform to raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 65.

Read also

Cleaner, piano tuner: French parliament's fresh faces

Party deputy chief Adrien Quatennens said Sunday there was "no possible agreement" with Macron, saying cooperation would "make no sense".

"We haven't heard (Macron) move or back down one iota on pension reform" or other controversial policies, he added.

PAY ATTENTION: check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!

Source: AFP

Online view pixel