PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron proposed Wednesday to “legislate in a different way" based on compromises between diverse political forces, three days after he suffered a major political blow when his party lost its parliamentary majority.
Macron spoke in a national televised address after two days of back-to-back meetings with the leaders of rival parties, in an effort to show he is open to dialogue. But those rivals appeared determined to remain in opposition to Macron and not keen to cooperate with him. Macron was re-elected to the presidency in April.
“We must collectively learn to govern and legislate in a different way,” Macron said in his TV address, offering to “build some new compromises with the political movements composing the new assembly.”
“It must not mean (political) standstill. It must mean deals,” he added.
These was his first public comments after his centrist Together! alliance won the most seats — 245 — but still fell 44 lawmakers short of a majority in France’s most powerful house of parliament. His government retains the ability to rule, but only by bargaining with legislators.
The main opposition force is the leftist Nupes coalition created by hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, with 131 seats.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen made a grand entrance Wednesday into the National Assembly with scores of lawmakers from her National Rally party, which obtained a historic score of 89 seats.
Such a political situation is highly unusual in France.
Macron said the National Assembly’s composition echoes “fractures, deep divisions across our country.”
“I believe it’s possible ... to find a broader and clearer majority to take action,” he said.
He then listed a series of measures included in his own political platform, suggesting he does not intend to radically change his policies. His campaign promises include measures to boost purchasing power, tax cuts and raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65.
Macron urged political parties to say within the next two days whether they would be ready to form a government coalition or commit to vote some bills on a case-by-case basis.
Leaders from key parties, including the leftist coalition, the conservatives and the far-right, have already suggested a governmental coalition is not an option.
Macron ruled out the idea of a “national union” that would include all political forces in the government as “not justified to this day.”
The president retains control over foreign policy. Macron heads Thursday to a series of global summits expected to focus on the war in Ukraine.