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‘Third half’: The race for the legislative elections in France is unleashed at full speed

48 hours after Macron’s victory, in France, “the third period” began frantically for the legislative elections in June. Only then will there really be a definitive government. All seek to recompose their forces to get to be the majority or the biggest opposition and the president analyzes who he is going to appoint prime minister before the legislative

can’t go wrong. There are at least 5 candidates who are under discussion: two women among them. Christine Lagarde, former director of the IMF, and Elizabeth Borne, the current Macron Employment Minister. But the one he chooses must be a token of reconciliation and he cannot be a technocrat or hyper liberal but a character with a political personality.

The third is Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie, a friend of Macron. But those three names are more of the same. They do not provide any political calm.

Others who are promoted for the Hôtel de Matignon, residence of the premier, include the Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, a right-winger even for the Macronists, or Richard Ferrand, a former journalist, leader of in March and president of the National Assembly.

Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that will resign along with the governmentwhich will allow Macron to pick a new face and team for his second five-year term.

No margin of error

Macron will need his party, The Republic in Marche!and their allies reach a majority to prevent the formation of a hostile government that could cripple his program.

The task of appointing a new prime minister and a new cabinet becomes particularly difficult, as Macron will seek to attract voters from the radical leftwho backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of the presidential election, and will avoid alienating Le Pen’s supporters.

Macron faces lawsuits to show that he is president of “all the French”, after obtaining 58.54%, compared to Le Pen’s 41.46%, of the vote in Sunday’s runoff election.

His victory will be officially confirmed by the country’s Constitutional Council on Wednesday. Castex could have been asked to remain as prime minister until after the legislative elections. But it doesn’t seem to be the case.

A Harris Interactive poll on Monday predicted that Macron’s party would win by 326 to 366 seatsan absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly, with 117 to 147 seats for the far-right parties, and the left reaching between 73 and 93 seats.

Three political forces have emerged in France after the decline of the traditional conservative Republicans and the center-left Socialist Party. They are a pro-European center, represented by Macron’s LREM, flanked by a radical left, led by Mélenchon, and the extreme right led by Marine Le Pen.

Voters who reject Macron but find the extremes hard to swallow, including the Greens, They will have to choose a side.

The race to be premier

Jean Luc Mélenchon and his Rebellious they want to get a parliamentary majority and that the National Assembly force the president to accept the radical leader of France Insumisa as his prime minister.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Photo: AFP

They seek to unite the left. So they talk to the communists, the greens and the socialists, who are resisting against the former socialist who left the party and radicalized himself as a populist far-left. Not everyone wants to negotiate with him.

Former socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal promotes the reunion. Former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who appointed Mélenchon as minister, shows the risks.

“President has played with fire. He would have burned without the responsible vote of his Republican opponents,” former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said in Le Parisien newspaper on Tuesday. “Marine Le Pen’s victory would have been an earthquake, a threat to the rule of law and a fracture in Europe,” he warned.

“On the left, the duty of a dominant force is to unite. For not having done it, Jean Luc Mélenchon has known a new glorious failure. He has the opportunity to learn from this lesson as he hopes, with some optimism, provoke a cohabitation in the legislativeJospin explained.

“In the long term, it is true that he is not sure about certain issues and that the style of Francia Insumisa is the majority on the left,” explained Jospin, after warning that the situation of his socialist party “is serious.”

“It will surely be positive for him to be part of an electoral agreement for the entire left, on the condition that we federate with our allies, the radical leftists, his communist and environmental neighbors,” he continued.

The legislative of June 12 and 19 they are the last possibility of what Mélenchon calls “the popular pole” to expand the leftwhich is your project.

Campaign posters show Macron and Mélenchon on the streets of Paris.  Photo: AFP

Campaign posters show Macron and Mélenchon on the streets of Paris. Photo: AFP

If he manages to be premier or be the main opposition force will force President Macron to change his agenda. Finally, it was the votes of the Republican Mélenchonists that managed to stop Marine Le Pen and give Macron the victory and he has an acknowledged debt to them.

Everything will be up for discussion: the reform of the retirement at 65 years will be the first transaction. “You have to be bold” maintains a rebellious deputy.

That’s why the next May 1 will be important in France. the left will do a show of force in the street, on labor day.

Where does the right go?

The Republicans seek to recompose their forces and strengthen themselves in the National Assembly. Avoid desertions and recompose the differences. In the midst of a brutal internal battle for campaign debts which left its candidate, Valerie Pecresse, with a loan from 5 million euros to be paid in May.

The Republican meeting was tumultuous but respectful. The leader of the deputies, Damien Abad said that the diversity of positions should be respected.

Valerie Pecresse.  Photo: EFE

Valerie Pecresse. Photo: EFE

Two groups are divided: those who seek an “independent” line in the National Assembly, led by Christian Jacob, and a minority, who seek a collaboration with Emmanuel Macron. The loser in the presidential elections, Pecresse, said that “she will be at the side of whoever asks for it.”

Macron’s challenge

France is dangerously divided along economic and generational fault lines. Most blue-collar workers, and more than four in 10 voters overall, went with Le Pen. With the best percentage in the history of the French extreme rightthis allowed Le Pen to declare that her participation in the vote was a “victory in itself”.

To fulfill his aspirations of overcoming divisions, Macron will need to do much more. After the Covid economy, Macron should also recognize that more needs to be done to protect and improve the living standards of precarious workers and youth, who voted en masse by Mélenchon.

As he contemplates five more years in office, Macron must realize that he has been given not so much a term as another opportunity to reconcile France and not be seen as “the president of the rich.”

Paris, correspondent


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