Negotiations to unblock France begin

The early legislative elections in France have only put an end to a process to form a government that seems complex and that represents a challenge full of new ground for the country. Once the first unknown has been cleared up, that there will be no high-voltage cohabitation between Emmanuel Macron and the extreme right, everything else remains to be known. The new National Assembly will start with its first session on July 18 and will reflect a tripolar France without any majority. In a country with little use for pacts and coalitions, the situation left by the polls is devilish. By that date, Macron should have already sounded out candidates for prime minister, although the Constitution does not set a fixed deadline for the president, who has freedom of appointment, but “taking into account” the results of the elections. On Sunday night, Macron had already said that he would not rush the timing. “In accordance with republican tradition, he will wait for the structuring of the new National Assembly to take the necessary decisions,” said the Elysée.

France 2024 election resultsT. GallardoThe reason

The first option for the government is that the cordon sanitaire that stopped Le Pen now crystallizes in a heterogeneous republican coalition. But the “red lines” and cross-vetoes make the negotiations that have already begun difficult. The critical figure for many is once again that of the leader of La France Insoumise (LFI), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who creates a notable rejection among the centrists and in a large part of public opinion. On the other side, on the part of the New Popular Front, which is already the first force in the hemicycle with 182 seats, a Macronist prime minister will not be tolerated. So things would have to look for a figure from the first political block, but who would have the approval and backing of the second. Someone from the left compatible with Macron, and the attention is focused on social democracy. Especially if we take into account that the Socialist Party is the formation that has grown the most in deputies in these elections with an increase of 108%. The secretary general of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, said yesterday that the left “must present a candidate for prime minister this week.”

The first problem arises within the coalition itself, due to its own internal struggle against Mélenchon. In an interview with France Info, Faure did not want to comment on who could be prime minister, beyond excluding the leader of LFI and pointing out that he will have to “be able to dialogue with the outside world” because the NFP majority will have to be “widened.”

But since yesterday, certain “red lines” have begun to be drawn from the Macronist camp. The French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, warned of the risk of “a financial crisis and economic decline” of the country if the NFP programme is implemented. “Implementing the programme of the New Popular Front would destroy the results of the policy we have followed for seven years, which has given France jobs, attractiveness and factories,” he warned. Macronism has flatly rejected demands that were part of the left’s programme, such as raising the minimum wage to 1,600 euros, reimposing high taxes on the richest or repealing the pension reform.

France 2024 election results
France 2024 election resultsT. GallardoThe reason

If the process drags on, the spectre of an ungovernable France could sooner rather than later appear. If Macron finds no other way out, he could appoint an independent figure as prime minister in a technocratic cabinet with a cross-party commitment to a repeat election that would have to take place at least within a year according to the Constitution.

For the moment, Macron has asked his Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, to continue leading the government “for the stability of the country”, especially given that in just over two weeks Paris will host the world’s showcase of the Olympic Games. Macron’s request to Attal comes after he announced on election night that he was going to resign from his post.