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Macron breaks Silence, urges mainstream coalition

Jul 11, 2024

Paris [France], July 11: French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called on mainstream parties to join forces to form a solid majority in the National Assembly, in his first public comments since Sunday's snap election delivered parliamentary gridlock.
The vote, which Macron unexpectedly called after losing to the far-right National Rally (RN) in European elections, has plunged France into uncharted waters, with three politically divergent blocs and no obvious path to forming a government.
In a letter to regional newspapers, the deeply unpopular Macron urged mainstream parties with "republican values" to form a governing coalition and said he hoped to pick a prime minister from such a grouping.
The New Popular Front (NFP), a hastily assembled alliance of the hard-left France Unbowed party and the Socialist, Green and Communist parties, unexpectedly won the most seats in Sunday's vote, but not a majority.
Macron's centrist camp came second and the RN third after third-placed candidates from the left and centre withdrew from the run-off to avoid splitting the anti-RN vote, scuppering the far right's hopes of winning a majority and forming a government.
It would be customary for Macron to call on the biggest parliamentary group, in this case the left-wing bloc, to form a government, but nothing in the constitution obliges him to do so.
Macron did not explicitly call for the RN or France Unbowed to be excluded from a governing coalition, but his mention of "republican values" is typically understood to exclude parties on the far left or the far right.
Several France Unbowed lawmakers reacted to Macron's letter by saying that he should accept the left-wing alliance's pick for prime minister, when it has agreed on one, and allow the bloc to form a government.
Financial markets, the European Commission and France's euro zone partners are all watching closely to see whether the impasse can be broken.
Options include a broad coalition, a minority government or a technocratic government led by a non-politically affiliated person, which would seek to pass laws in parliament on a case-by-case basis, with ad hoc agreements.
But any government - of the left, centre, or a broader coalition - could quickly be toppled by a confidence vote from the opposition if it had not secured sufficient support.
RN leader Jordan Bardella said Macron was to blame for the political paralysis.
Bardella's mentor, the long-time RN leader Marine Le Pen, has spent the last few years cleaning up the image of a party once known for racism and antisemitism, and must now decide what strategy to adopt to win the 2027 presidential election.
She has framed the tactical withdrawals as an establishment plot to keep her party from power.
On Wednesday her tone hardened, when she drew parallels between a hard-left politician's call for a march towards the prime minister's office and the assault on Capitol Hill, opens new tab by supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
She said the NFP has almost "subversive attitudes since they are calling for Matignon to be taken by force," referring to the prime minister's office. "It's their assault on the Capitol."
She was reacting to a social media post by France Unbowed lawmaker Adrien Quatennens, who accused Macron of wanting to "steal" the left's victory after he asked centrist Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to stay on for now, for stability. Quatennens had called for "a big popular march" on Matignon.
Responding to Le Pen, Quatennens said she was "nuts" to liken his suggestion to a call for insurrection.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Corporation