French President Macron holds talks with far-right Marine Le Pen amid his election failure
French President Emmanuel Macron held talks with opposition leaders on Tuesday about breaking the deadlock created by failing to secure a majority in the parliamentary elections.
Macron met right-wing, socialist and communist party leaders on the Elysee, including rare talks with far-right leader Marine Le Pen – whom he defeated in a presidential runoff in April – as he seeks solutions to a tricky situation that risks collapsing. second term in a crisis two months after it started.
The specter of political paralysis and the pioneering achievements of the far right under Le Pen have also raised questions about Macron’s leadership in Europe as he seeks to retain a key role in dealing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Elysee said French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, accused by some analysts of leading a lackluster campaign, had tendered her resignation to Macron, but the head of state turned it down.
Macron believes the government should “keep working” and that the president will now seek “constructive solutions” to the political deadlock in talks with opposition parties, a presidential official said.
Macron kicked off Tuesday’s flurry of discussions by talking to Christian Jacob, head of the traditional right-wing Republicans (LR), a party that has fallen into decline in recent months but can now be courted by the president to give him a to give a majority.
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, meets with French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) leader and MP Marine Le Pen at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Macron (right, with French communist leader Fabien Roussel on the left) received political party leaders in an attempt to break the deadlock created by his coalition’s failure to secure a majority in the parliamentary elections
French centrist party MoDem (Mouvement Democrate) leader Francois Bayrou (L) and La Republique En Marche (LREM) ruling party leader Stanislas Guerini (R) also met Macron at the Elysee Palace
The options available to Macron range from seeking a new coalition alliance, passing legislation based on ad hoc agreements or even calling new elections.
One option would be an alliance with Republicans, who have 61 MPs.
But Jacob seemed to close the door to such a solution after the talks. “I told the president there was no question of engaging in what could be seen as betrayal of our voters.”
“We will remain in opposition,” he added, swearing that his party would not block the work of institutions.
Macron had hoped to mark his second term as president with an ambitious program of tax cuts, social security reform and raising the retirement age. All that is now up for debate.
“What can he (Macron) do now?” said the headline in the newspaper Le Parisien. ‘Macron at an impasse’, was Le Figaro’s sentence.
Despite the promise of a new method of politics after his victory in the April presidential election, Macron has typically remained aloof and has not commented publicly on the results of the parliamentary polls.
Le Monde called it Macron’s “great hesitation” and said the president was in no rush to work out his post-election strategy.
Although Macron’s Ensemble (Together) coalition remains the largest party in parliament after Sunday’s National Assembly elections, it fell dozens of seats short of retaining the absolute majority it had held for the past five years.
The left-wing NUPES alliance became the main opposition power, but the coalition of socialists, communists, greens and far-left France Unbowed faces an uphill battle to maintain unity.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, right of center, surrounded by ministers, chairs a cabinet meeting at the Matignon Hotel in Paris, France on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Borne formally tendered her resignation on Tuesday, in line with tradition following the parliamentary elections. Macron immediately rejected the offer and maintained the current government
French far-right leader Rassemblement National (RN) and MP Marine Le Pen (R) arrives to meet with French President Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 21, 2022
Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of France Unbowed who orchestrated the NUPES alliance, proposed on Monday that it be turned into a permanent left-wing bloc, but the offer was immediately rejected by the three other NUPES parties.
In a short gesture to the president, Melenchon is believed to be sending representatives to Elysee talks with Macron on Wednesday rather than going himself.
“I’m not cold or hot” about Borne’s stay on, said Melenchon, whose party has vowed to table a no-confidence vote against the prime minister in early July.
“All I have to do now is wait for the fruit to fall from the tree. This woman has no legitimacy. Zero. This is a democracy, not a monarchy,” he added.
Socialist leader Olivier Faure, whose party is part of NUPES, took a more conciliatory stance after meeting Macron, saying his party is ready to move forward with the government if it takes measures on the crucial point of purchasing power. .
The far right under Le Pen recorded the best legislative performance in its history, becoming the strongest single opposition party with 89 seats, against eight in the outgoing chamber.
Le Pen said changing the prime minister “wouldn’t change much” and urged Macron to “listen to what French voters said”.
Even if Borne remains in her post for now, there is a cabinet shake-up on the horizon after health, environment and maritime ministers failed to win seats in the elections and are now set to resign.