Lame Duck French president Emmanuel Macron today broke his silence about the parliamentary crisis enveloping his administration, saying ‘I can’t ignore the political gridlock and divisions in our country’.
The head of state addressed his nation on live TV on Wednesday evening – three days after losing his majority in the National Assembly – and appeared to rule out a National Unity government made up of all parties.
Expressing his frustration about the result of Sunday’s parliamentary election – when his Together coalition was 44 seats under the necessary 289 figure for a majority – Mr Macron said: ‘Unfortunately not everyone went out to vote, and now I can’t ignore the political gridlock and divisions in our country.
‘The fractures are very clear – in our inner city areas, and in rural areas. We have 577 seats in our parliament and now we must make a choice about how we are going to form a majority.
‘We have to learn how to legislate differently – that’s what you have asked for. We don’t have to stay in a situation of inertia.
French President Emmanuel Macron at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels today. Mr Macron expressed his frustration about the result of Sunday’s parliamentary election, saying on Wednesday: ‘Unfortunately not everyone went out to vote, and now I can’t ignore the political gridlock and divisions in our country’
An ecstatic French far-right leader Marine Le Pen celebrates her party’s victory with the newly elected parliament members at the National Assembly on Wednesday
Leader of left-wing coalition Nupes (Nouvelle Union Populaire Ecologique et Sociale – New Ecologic and Social People’s Union) Jean-Luc Melenchon arrives at the National Assembly, two days after the legislative elections
‘I see the country is asking for change, because it’s my role as the person in charge of institutions, I’m the person who can look for this compromise in the National Assembly.’
Despite such words, Mr Macron said that neither the far-Right National Rally (NR), nor the Left Wing Nupes alliance, had shown much enthusiasm for a government of National Unity.
He has spent the last two days talking to party leaders, including the NR’s Marine Le Pen, and Nupes’s Jean-Luc Melenchon.
‘We have seen that everybody wants to make sure that everything is not blocked,’ said Mr Macron.
Jean-Luc Melenchon poses for a family photo with newly-elected members of parliament in front the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday
Marine Le Pen, centre, and National Rally party newly elected parliament members pose at the National Assembly on Wednesday
Excited newly-elected members of the French Parliament arrive at the National Assembly arrive (Pictured: French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party President and European Parlement member Jordan Bardella)
Macron’s centrist alliance took a pounding in the latest election, losing 105 seats from 2017. The centre-right Republicans also lost seats, while Le Pen’s National Rally gained a huge 81 seats. In 2017, Melenchon only led his own party, winning 17 seats, but this team he gathered together a left-wing alliance which won 131 seats, making them the largest opposition group
‘The majority of leaders have spoken about the fact that people do not think the country is ready of a National Unity government.’
Instead, Mr Macron said options included coalition building, possibly over every piece of proposed legislation in a ‘bill-by-bill case’.
Measures that the President hopes to get through include raising the retirement age in France from 62 to 65, but this is likely to be blocked by the opposition.
‘We need a large and clear majority,’ he said. ‘I was convinced from the start that we need more compromise – to go beyond quarrels and division. Clarity is essential.
‘You want us to be responsible, credible and well financed. We need to take some urgent decisions for the future of the country and to make sure that your everybody’s lives can be lived without having to worry about more debt and more stress.’
If the parliamentary crisis deepens further then Mr Macron, who came to power in 2017 and who is currently in his second term of office, may have to call another snap parliamentary election.