The legislative defeat of President Emmanuel Macron forces him to negotiate with other figures in French politics who have resurfaced in the midst of the crisis .
Photo: TW-Emmanuel Macron, TW-MLP_official
LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
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Leer en español: Figuras que hacen sombra a un eclipsado Emmanuel Macron en Francia
The happiness of Emmanuel Macron, President of France, did not last long after his 17-point victory over Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election. It seemed that the five-year term for which he was elected would pass the same as the first, that is, with the majority in the National Assembly that allowed him to have control without checks and balances. The French have been clear, they have given him re-election but not total power. Now Macron faces the challenge of negotiating and giving in to obtain the support of characters like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, one of his harshest critics.
How are cards played in France?
Ensemble , the electoral coalition that supported President Macron in his re-election, won (so far) 245 seats in the French National Assembly. This figure gives him the simple majority, but not the absolute majority, necessary to guarantee the governability of the country, in full effervescence due to the economic situation and foreign problems such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Given this scenario, Macron's options are limited, in the 2017 elections where his newly formed party La République En Marche! (LREM - The Republic on the March) won the absolute majority along with its allies. The figure of the prime minister is crucial in French politics, if the president's party wins the legislative elections it guarantees that the prime minister is someone close to him and, therefore, his power extends from being head of state to being also indirectly of government. The current Prime Minister of France, Élisabeth Borne, is someone close to Macron, a fact that had given great power to the president who came to be described as arrogant by the opposition and not a few citizens.
The other scenario occurs when the president does not have a majority in the National Assembly and is forced to appoint as prime minister someone who does not come from his party or allies in order to guarantee governability. The norm is to appoint someone from the party that has obtained the majority or whoever is the second force if the ruling party does not reach an absolute majority . This scenario limits the power of the president, who must yield to his allies to form a government, in addition to the fact that the figure of the prime minister represents the balance of his management, called "cohabitation" one of the locks of several European democracies including the French, where executive power is exercised by two people who do not share the same ideas. It is in this scenario that Emmanuel Macron finds himself who, faced with the setback to his party, must negotiate to achieve an absolute majority, although it will not be easy or free.
Who can support Macron and at what cost?
Behind LREM are the Nouvelle Union populaire écologiste et sociale (NUPES - New Popular Ecologist and Social Union), Jean-Luc Mélenchon's party, with 131 legislators, Rassemblement national (RN - National Association), Marine Le Pen, with 89 legislators, and Les Républicains (LR - The Republicans), Christian Jacob's party, with 61. The problem is that the first two options, NUPES and RN, are tough opponents who will hardly yield, although in NUPES there are voices like the of the Socialist Party that is at least open to negotiations, the obstacle is its leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who now as a second force will become a staunch opposition. On the side of RN Marine Le Pen it is an even more complicated case, the extreme right that it represents will not find points of agreement with Macron in any way, even less with its growth from 8 to 89 legislators that has empowered them. The figures with whom Macron must negotiate seem open to anything but dialogue, their power giving them the confidence to censor the president.
So Macron is left with only LR, who with their 61 seats can complete the absolute majority for president since LREM only needs 44 votes to do so. The cost will not be small, the main ideas of the government of Macron's electoral platform could be lost along the way, highlighting the pension reform to increase the retirement age from 62 to 65 years and its long-awaited renewal in the Union Union in the face of the increase in Euroscepticism. LR is no stranger to Macron, they have already been allies and the unity between the two will surely be renewed, but the cost for Macron will be to give up spaces in the government and give in to crucial issues in the economy, climate change, the European Union, defense, etc. Although LR's speech is a refusal to negotiate with Macron, in politics a "no" is not always a real refusal, but a call for dialogue but with harsh conditions.
Among the figures that Macron "must beware of" also stands out the former prime minister during his first term, Édouard Philippe, mayor of Le Havre. Who was unexpectedly elected as prime minister despite not being part of the president's party in 2017. Now he publicly shows his presidential aspirations and his position against Macron may be relevant at this time of crisis and during the government. Bruno Le Maire, the current finance minister , is another of the "big" figures in the Macron government and has begun to take a greater role, as a government lobbyist against the opposition in the construction of alliances, and as one of the aspiring premature to the succession of the president. If agreements are not reached, Macron will have to resort to extreme measures such as dissolving the Assembly and calling new elections, a radical action.