France: Macron, Leftist Bloc Struggle to Form Govt After Hung Parliament

Wed Jul 10 2024
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PARIS: France’s left-wing alliance and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist bloc are engaged in rival efforts to form a government, amidst assertions from far-right leader Marine Le Pen that the political deadlock lies squarely with Macron.

The surprising outcome of Sunday’s snap election saw the leftist New Popular Front (NFP) benefited from an unexpected surge, yet no group secured an absolute majority. This has plunged France into uncertainty, with no clear path towards a stable government.

Adding complexity, leaders within each faction are divided on whom to approach to negotiate a coalition. Internal tensions within parties have also escalated as members vie for influence in reshaping a political landscape disrupted by the sudden election.

Furthermore, any prospective government — whether from the left, center, or a broader coalition — faces the immediate threat of a confidence vote from the opposition if it fails to secure solid support.

“We find ourselves in a quagmire where the origin of the prime minister’s appointment and the country’s policy direction remain uncertain,” remarked Marine Le Pen upon arriving at parliament. She criticized pre-election alliances that she claims excluded her National Rally (RN) party from power.

Macron, who called for the parliamentary election following a defeat by the far right in EU elections last month, had anticipated clarifying the political landscape, a goal that has not materialized.

“This is, to say the least, not a triumph for Emmanuel Macron,” quipped Le Pen.

As rating agencies, financial markets, the European Commission, and France’s euro zone partners closely monitor developments, the challenge remains to break the political impasse.

Possible solutions include forming a broad coalition or a minority government reliant on ad hoc agreements to pass legislation in parliament.

Political sources indicate intense negotiations are underway, with some centrists hoping to strike a deal with the conservatives, potentially sidelining the left.

“I believe there are alternatives to the New Popular Front,” asserted Aurore Berge, a senior lawmaker from Macron’s Renaissance group on France 2 TV. “I don’t think the French want the NFP’s platform implemented; they oppose tax increases. We are in a position to broaden our support base.”

Meanwhile, leftist leaders are advocating their right to govern after topping the election, but without consensus on a prime ministerial candidate, they face mounting competition from the right and center.

Carole Delga of the Socialist Party emphasized that the left alone cannot govern and must reach out to other parties, albeit aligned with the NFP’s tax and spending policies.

However, some take a more assertive stance. “The NFP holds the largest number of seats in the National Assembly, so it is the responsibility of the NFP to form a government… that is our objective,” declared Manuel Bompard of France Unbowed on LCI TV.

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