Paris (CNSNews.com) – French political parties are stepping up campaigning ahead of next month’s legislative elections, where the outcome will significantly affect newly-reelected President Emmanuel Macron’s ability to pursue his political and economic programs.
Macron’s victory last week will not be enough to enable him to implement his policies for the next five years if his Republic in Motion movement does not win a majority in the National Assembly.
Republic in Motion currently has the highest number of seats, though short of a majority – 263 out of a total of 577.
Under the French constitution, presidents are free to nominate anyone of their choosing as prime minister. But in order to implement his program and avoid legislative deadlock, Macron needs to nominate someone representing the majority party in the House.
Macron won the runoff election by 58.5 percent of the votes to 41.4 percent for far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen.
In the first round, far-left Rebellious France leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon fell just short of Le Pen, so the election reflected strong support for the far-right and far-left, while the flagbearer of the center-right Republicans – currently the second-largest party in the National Assembly – fared poorly.
Ahead of the legislative elections, scheduled for June 12 and June 19, Rebellious France has now agreed to a broad alliance with the Greens and the Communists. It also hopes to bring the Socialists onboard.
On the back of his strong showing in the presidential election, Mélenchon is campaigning to become prime minister under Macron, with the goal of winning a majority – 289 seats – for what is being called the “New People’s Ecological and Social Union.”
The Greens, which have no seats in the current parliament but won control of seven cities in 2020 local elections, have agreed to join forces with Rebellious France, which holds 17 seats in the National Assembly.
On Monday, Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel confirmed that his party (with 16 seats in the current parliament) will join the grouping for the election.
Negotiations with the Socialist Party (28 seats in the current parliament) are continuing, but Mélenchon expressed optimism of an agreement soon.
On the right, meanwhile, Le Pen is trying to win the support of right-wing voters, especially those who backed the new far-right Reconquest movement. Its leader, Eric Zemmour, won 7.07 percent of the votes in the first round of the presidential election.
Le Pen’s National Rally holds just eight seats in the current National Assembly.
A big question for many is where the Republican Party (101 seats in the current parliament) will go. Its leader, Valérie Pécresse, won just 4.78 percent of the votes in the presidential poll, and members are divided on which party to support in next month’s election.
Some Republicans have already announced they will vote for Macron’s party, despite some policy disagreements. Others, who strongly oppose Macron’s positions, lean towards joining forces with National Rally, especially after Le Pen’s strong showing in the presidential election, and Pécresse’s weak result.
Macron’s domestic agenda is focused on boosting the economy, enhancing internal security in the face of terrorism, crime, and illegal migration, and raising the retirement age (from 62 today to 64 or 65, depending on circumstances.)
Internationally, the pro-European Union president wants to increase the cohesion within the bloc, promote a common E.U. defense strategy, and work to achieve energy autonomy. He also wants to push for reforms to ensure better control of the E.U.’s external borders.
Mélenchon’s domestic policies include lifting salaries and pensions, increases taxes on companies and high earners, and retaining the current retirement age.
On foreign policy, he wants a “more democratic” and environmentally-friendly E.U., says France should be more willing to disobey E.U. rules when necessary, and opposes a common defense. He has also called on France to leave NATO.
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