The leaders of France’s opposition parties all agree that a political stalemate must be avoided and must now learn to compromise, Emanuel Macron said on Wednesday, as he faces the worst crisis of his career and an unprecedented political deadlock after his death. lost control of parliament.
In his first comments since his centrist grouping, more than 40 seats fell under an absolute majority parliamentary elections on Sunday, Macron said agreements had to be found across party lines and that he would aim for a working majority in the coming weeks.
“I can’t help but notice the rifts, the deep dividing lines that run through our country and are reflected in the composition of the new [national] meeting,” Macron said in a televised speech on Wednesday evening.
Macron had had full control of parliament during his first term from 2017. But voters who re-elected him as president in April delivered a pending parliament on Sunday, angry at soaring inflation and his alleged indifference.
“We will have to clarify in the coming days how much responsibility and cooperation the different formations in the National Assembly are willing to accept.”
A historic wave of Marine Le Pen’s far-right, anti-immigration National Rally made it the largest opposition party.
A left-wing alliance of parties also made big gains, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s left-wing France Unbowed party, which is now the third largest party in parliament with about 72 seats. Others in the left alliance are the Socialists and the Greens.
Le Pen, who came second to Macron in April’s presidential election after promising to cut taxes on fuel and ban the Muslim headscarf from all public spaces, triumphantly welcomed her new party group to the national assembly on Wednesday. With 89 new members, it is the highest number of far-right legislators in the French parliament in modern history.
“Millions of French people have been deprived of fair representation in parliament for decades, but today they are represented,” she said.
Le Pen’s party has done poorly in parliamentary elections in the past when the two-round vote lacked proportional representation, but this time they went against that trend.
Among the new influx of far-right MPs was a significant number of local councilors who proved that the far-right had successfully expanded on the grassroots across France, beyond its core countries in the post-industrial northeast and its stronghold in the south. There was a wave of the far right in the southwest and in the Gironde, in some areas traditionally occupied by the left. They expanded in Normandy, Burgundy, central France, the northeast and over part of the Mediterranean coast.
Le Pen claimed that her MPs had new profiles that better represented French society. Novice lawmakers for her party included three police officers, three former journalists and a caregiver for the elderly.
A new far-right MP for Normandy was Katiana Levavasseur, a supermarket cleaner. The 52-year-old said she wanted to “defend the employment of unskilled workers in France who, like me, get up early in the morning to earn €11.75 an hour”. She described herself as living proof “that you can start from scratch and end up in parliament”.
A 29-year-old delivery man, Jorys Bovet, was chosen for the far right in the Allier in central France. ‘I’m from the real world. I’ve been working since I was 16,” he told local newspaper La Montagne. “I see the cost of living in a crisis, everyone is taxed, people have had enough.”
José Beaurain, 50 from the far right, also from a working class, was the first blind MP to enter parliament. He used to work in a music store as a piano tuner and was a former vice champion of bodybuilding for France. He lost his sight completely in 2008 due to a genetic disorder, telling Le Parisien this week: “That’s why I wasn’t elected, I didn’t talk about it in the press, but it’s a big point of pride for me. It proves that everyone, even with a disability, can have dreams and ambitions.”
Le Pen’s party, which has immediately started preparing for the next presidential election in five years at the end of Macron’s last term, hopes to use parliament as a means of ensuring respectability and visibility while other parties continue to accuse her of racist and anti-Muslim, who says his anti-immigration manifesto to take France for the French is unconstitutional.
“We will be a strong opposition, but also a responsible opposition, respectful of the institutions and always constructive,” Le Pen said.
The party, which is deeply indebted, is also about to receive a major funding injection from its new parliament group, which would help it pay off an outstanding loan from a Russian bank, which was closed in 2014 before election campaigns.
In a separate development on Wednesday, French prosecutors said they were investigating a secretary of state after two rape charges were brought against her. The allegations date back to when Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, worked as a gynecologist, according to the French magazine Marianne.
The Paris hospital service said it was not aware of any complaints against her. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not responded to requests for comment, AFP reports.