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Macron addresses nation after talks with opposition amid parliamentary impasse

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French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the nation for the first time on Wednesday since his centrist coalition lost control of parliament in Sunday’s elections. Macron spent two days in talks with opposition leaders, who have publicly ruled out any form of coalition or pact. Watch his speech live by clicking on the video player above.

Macron’s Ensemble (Together) coalition emerged as the largest party in the latest round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, but was dozens of seats short of retaining the parliamentary majority it had enjoyed for the past five years.

Macron’s centrist alliance ended up 44 seats short of a majority in the National Assembly of the House of Commons as a new left-wing coalition known as NUPES made gains and far-right party Marine Le Pen posted its best legislative performance in its history.

The NUPES (New Popular Union) alliance – which unites the La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), the Socialist Party, the Greens (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) and the Communist Party led by Eurosceptic far-left figurehead Jean-Luc Mélenchon – more than double the score of the combined games in 2017.

The situation has called into question Macron’s ambitious reform plans in his second term after his re-election in April — including a controversial move to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65.

It is also the first time in 20 years that a president has not had an absolute majority in parliament.

Macron spent two days in talks with opposition leaders at the Élysee Palace, including the head of far-right National Rally party Marine Le Pen, to find a way out of the crisis.

Analysts have said the most viable solution would be a deal between Macron’s centrist alliance and conservative Les Républicains, a party in decline that nevertheless won 61 seats. But after talks with Macron on Tuesday, party leader Christian Jacob ruled out any sort of “pact” with Macron’s alliance, saying his party prefers to remain in opposition.

Macron’s comments on Wednesday are his first public comments on the election results, a significant setback for a president with an ambitious domestic reform agenda and one eager to play a key role in international crises, including the war in Ukraine.

French parliamentary elections
French parliamentary elections © FRANCE 24

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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