Analysis: Jupiter is no more: Macron learns the art of compromise the hard way

  • Macron will have to reach out to other parties to govern
  • The Fifth Republic has little history of consensus
  • Obstruction, likely obstruction in new chamber
  • Macron could call early legislative elections at some point

PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) – Jupiter has lost its thunder. Emmanuel Macron, whose first presidential term was marked by a style of government from above that he compared to that of the all-powerful Roman god, will have to learn the art of consensus in the second.

Deprived of the absolute majority by the voters on Sunday, the French president can no longer count on Parliament as a simple enrollment chamber. Instead, he will be forced to negotiate with demanding allies and new partners with a vendetta.

The screenings showed that “Together!” from Macron! The coalition bloc had missed an absolute majority by 40 to 60 lawmakers, a much bigger deficit than expected and a crushing result for the president. Read more

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This means he will likely have to seek the support of the conservative Les Républicains (LR) party, who will relish his role as kingmaker and want to exact a heavy toll from Macron for legislative support – including perhaps a change of prime minister. .

“This culture of compromise is the one we will have to adopt, but we must do it around clear values, ideas and political projects for France,” said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, himself a former conservative, in an apparent attempt to reach out to his former political family.

However, in a country whose post-war leader Charles de Gaulle said was ungovernable given its 246 types of cheese, it will be difficult for Macron, but also for his potential partners, to learn the northern European art of consensus building and coalition work.

Senior Republican officials appeared to reject a broad coalition deal on Sunday night and would remain in opposition, but will be “constructive” – ​​hinting at possible deals on a bill-by-bill basis.

“I fear that we are no longer in an Italian-style political situation where it will be difficult to govern than in a German situation with its search for consensus,” Christopher Dembik, an analyst at SaxoBank, told Reuters.

“It’s not necessarily a tragedy, in my opinion. It may be an opportunity to reinvigorate French democracy and return to the true meaning of parliament,” he said.

Macron was frequently criticized during his first term for ramming through parliament business-friendly reforms that were drafted by his aides at the Elysee Palace without consulting lawmakers or outside stakeholders.

His rivals have regularly accused the president of being out of touch and arrogant. A government source said that was likely what voters sought to sanction.

“It’s a message about the lack of basis and the arrogance that we’ve shown at times,” the source said.

During the campaign, Macron sought to counter that accusation by promising a “new method” of government, proposing to create a new body outside parliament that would be filled with civil society figures and whom he would consult on future reforms.

In the end, French voters, it seems, were not convinced.

Filibustery

Macron risks facing filibuster from both sides of the chamber. The left-wing Nupes alliance, which has transformed an already combative contingent of lawmakers into the largest opposition force in parliament, will be relentless in its obstruction.

Parliament’s rules state that an opposition MP must head the powerful finance committee, which can ask the government for access to confidential tax information and temporarily block budget bills.

It would be a particularly painful way to keep Macron’s feet on fire.

Across the aisle, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally would also risk asserting its newly acquired right as a parliamentary group of lawmakers to launch parliamentary inquiries and challenge bills in the House. Constitutional Court, senior RN officials. said.

These investigations can force government ministers or even presidential aides to testify publicly in parliament.

These parties will also replenish their coffers with taxpayers’ money which will be distributed to political parties based on their election results, which raises the specter of strong challenges from them in the next presidential election in 2027.

Of course, compromise does not necessarily mean paralysis.

Macron’s new center-right partners will find it hard not to support his more conservative reform plans, such as raising the retirement age to 65 or linking social benefits to training or community work.

Some laws can be painstakingly passed.

But how long Macron will agree to share power remains to be seen. The president has the power to call a snap general election at any time, and political sources expect another thunderclap from Jupiter at some point.

“I expect a dissolution of parliament in about a year,” a center-right lawmaker whose party may try to strike a deal with Macron’s party told Reuters.

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Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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