On urgent issues: Macron counts on cooperation with the opposition

For urgent issues
Macron is counting on cooperation with the opposition

For the first time since losing his absolute majority in Parliament, President Emmanuel Macron has spoken publicly on French television. In his speech, he makes it clear that one must now learn to govern differently. Representatives of the opposition had signaled their willingness.

Three days after the defeat of his electoral alliance in the parliamentary elections, French President Emmanuel Macron has shown himself confident that he can work with the strengthened opposition. There is a willingness “to make progress on important and urgent issues,” said Macron in a TV speech in Paris. Representatives of the opposition have signaled their willingness to make progress on issues such as the cost of living, jobs or energy and climate policy.

It was Macron’s first public reaction to the results of Sunday’s general election, in which his Ensemble alliance lost an absolute majority. “As in most Western democracies, such as Germany or Italy and many others, no political force can now pass laws alone,” said the President. About 30 out of 577 seats would have been missing to get an absolute majority. The aim now is to increase the majority, “either through a coalition agreement or through majorities depending on the legal text,” said Macron. “We have to learn to govern differently and to make laws,” stressed the President.

A national unity government would have ruled out most of his interlocutors. In the past two days, Macron had received representatives of the most important parties for one-to-one talks, including the communist Fabien Roussel and the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, future leader of the largest opposition faction. “Everyone has assured me of respect for our institutions and that they want to prevent the country from being blocked,” said Macron.

Macron was under pressure

The election result reflects the fractures and rifts that run through the country, Macron said. “New compromises through listening, dialogue and respect” are now necessary. “This does not mean standing still, but agreements that you have to take your time for,” he said. At the same time, Macron made it clear that he did not want to deviate from essential points of his program. He mentioned planned laws on purchasing power, environmental, climate and health issues. “These projects will not be financed by more taxes or higher debt,” stressed Macron.

He did not mention the controversial pension reform, for which he is facing strong opposition from both right-wing and left-wing populists. Macron has been under pressure to speak publicly about the outcome of the election as he attends three different international summits in the coming days before returning to focus on domestic issues.

Three blocks have formed in the new National Assembly: The presidential alliance, which still has the relative majority, has new strong opponents in the left-green alliance Nupes and in the right-wing populist faction of the Rassemblement National. The National Assembly will hold its first session on June 28th.

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