The leader of France’s conservative party said on Tuesday that an “arrogant” Emmanuel Macron will have to change tack and take on board their policy proposals as the president seeks ways to continue ruling effectively after losing control of parliament.
Macron, who has himself described his top-down approach to power as “Jupiterian”, won a second mandate as president in April as voters rallied to defeat his far-right opponent.
But while his centrist alliance won the most seats in Sunday’s legislative elections, they fell well short of the absolute majority he needed to rule with a free hand.
“He’s the one who’s been arrogant and now he calls for help,” the leader of the conservative Les Republicains, Christian Jacob (pictured), told France Inter radio.
“We are very clear on our stance, we are in the opposition to Emmanuel Macron and will remain there,” he said.
But with his party, whose economic platform is largely compatible with Macron’s, well placed to be kingmaker, he added: “It’s up to Emmanuel Macron to take our proposals onboard. We will, each time, be making proposals.”
The pro-European president who wants to deepen EU integration, push the retirement age up, and promote nuclear energy will meet with leaders of all main opposition parties on Tuesday and Wednesday, starting with Jacob, as he seeks allies outside his camp.
Sunday’s elections delivered a fragmented parliament, in which the far-right has its biggest contingent ever in France and is the single-biggest opposition party, while a broad left-wing alliance altogether won the second-largest number of seats.
Jacob’s Les Republicains are fourth. If and when they choose to add their voices to Macron’s Ensemble, however, that would be enough to reach an absolute majority and get bills adopted.
There are many outstanding questions, including whether Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will stay in the job and if the left-wing Nupes alliance – which showed its first cracks as early on Monday – will stay united.
The Elysee palace said Borne had handed in her resignation but that Macron rejected it so the government can keep working.