France’s Macron reaches out to divided parliament

By Luis Miguel Pascual

Paris, Jun 22 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron appealed Wednesday for “responsibility” from the opposition parties whose gains in last weekend’s legislative elections dismantled the centrist majority in parliament.

“We must learn to govern and legislate differently,” he said in a nationally broadcast address three days after Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally enjoyed its greatest success to date and a new leftist coalition emerged as the main opposition.

At the same time, Macron said that he will not sacrifice the “coherence” of the agenda of “ambitious reform” he proposed ahead of his victory over Le Pen in April’s presidential runoff.

His centrist Ensemble! (Together!) alliance won 245 of the 277 seats in the National Assembly, 44 short of a majority.

The leftist NUPES (New Popular Union) will be the second-largest bloc with 131 seats, followed by the National Rally, with 89, and the conservative Les Republicains, who secured 61 seats.

While Les Republicains could be seen as the most congenial potential partners for Ensemble!, their leader, Christian Jacob, rejected the idea after meeting with Macron on Tuesday.

Macron, 44, called on opposition parties to be ready by the end of this week to say “how far they are ready to go” in terms of supporting his program.

One element of that program, raising the retirement age from 62 to 65, sparked protests during his first five-year term and though polls indicate that it remains highly unpopular, Les Republicains are thought to be amenable to the proposal.

Speaking immediately after the president, the leader of the largest component of NUPES, La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), was anything but conciliatory.

“The executive branch is weak, the National Assembly is strong,” Jean-Luc Melenchon said, repeating his demand that Macron’s prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, submit to a vote of confidence.

“The president has reinterpreted the political landscape starting from the idea that he received a clear mandate from the country in April, this is not the case,” Melenchon said. “He was elected in April because a majority of the French did not want the extreme right to lead our republic.” EFE lmpg/dr

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