PARIS — Three days after suffering a significant electoral setback when his democrats lost their parliamentary majority, French President Emmanuel Macron advocated on Wednesday to “legislate in a different way” based on agreements between various political parties.
During two days of back-to-back talks with the leaders of opposition parties, Macron gave a nationally televised speech to demonstrate his willingness to engage in discussion. But those rivals didn’t seem eager to work with Macron and were set to continue opposing him. In April, Macron was re-elected as president.
In his TV speech, Macron stated that “we must all learn to rule and legislation in a different manner,” and he offered to “create some new agreements with the political groupings making up the new parliament.”
“It cannot imply (political) inaction. Deals must be included, he continued.
These were his first remarks to the public following his centrist Together! In France’s most powerful chamber of parliament, the alliance gained the most seats (245), but it was still 44 MPs shy of a majority. His government still has the power to rule, but only via negotiations with lawmakers.
With 131 seats, the hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon’s radical Nupes alliance is the largest opposition force.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally party, entered the National Assembly in a big way on Wednesday. Her party won an unprecedented 89 seats.
In France, such a political position is quite uncommon.
Macron said that the makeup of the National Assembly reflects “fractures, significant divides across our country.”
I think it’s feasible to find a larger and more distinct majority to act, he added.
As evidence that he does not intend to significantly alter his ideas, he then outlined several initiatives that are part of his political program. His election platform included tax cuts, spending increases, and extending the age of retirement from 62 to 65.
Political parties were encouraged by Macron to indicate over the next 2 days whether they’ll be willing to create a coalition government or pledge to vote on specific proposals on an individual basis.
A governing alliance has already been ruled out by prominent figures from the far-right, the conservatives, and the leftist coalition.
The notion of a “national unity” that would bring together all political parties in the cabinet was rejected by Macron as “not warranted to this day.”
Foreign policy remains within the president’s discretion. On Thursday, Macron will go to several international gatherings where the conflict in Ukraine is likely to be discussed.