PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called for “responsibility and cooperation” from other political parties in his first speech since the loss of an absolute majority in parliament, suggesting it could be possible to reach a coalition agreement to pass legislation.
“As in most Western democracies, be it Germany, Italy or many others, no political power today can make the laws,” Macron said in a televised speech. “We must collectively learn to govern and regulate differently.”
In the second round of last Sunday’s parliamentary elections, Macron’s centrist coalition came in first, but won only 246 seats of the 289 needed to maintain its previous absolute parliamentary majority, as far-left and far-right parties gained ground. That promises trouble for Macron’s reform plans, just two months after he won a second term as president.
Macron said he deplored the low turnout, with more than one in two voters choosing not to vote in the second round, as well as the “ruptures, the deep divisions that run through our country and are reflected in the composition of the new Assembly.”
The president said his allies in parliament should now try to “expand, either by concluding a coalition agreement or by building text-by-text majorities”. He also said he still plans to continue with his planned reforms “to continue creating more wealth, more work and more innovation.”
Macron also called for the creation of “new compromises based on dialogue, listening and respect” and urged the other groups to indicate “to what extent they are willing to cooperate”.
“Since day one, I have been convinced of the need to go beyond politics,” he said. “I know it lives up to the aspiration of many of you to get out of the political squabbles.”
His political opponents reacted quickly. Adrien Quatennens, coordinator of the radical left France Unbowed, tweetedMacron challenges political groups: will you vote for my laws? The question must be returned to him: and you, do you vote for the opposition bills?”
Communist leader Fabien Roussel too tweeted: “Macron discovers the virtues of parliamentary debate and the true role of the National Assembly in 2022! We will judge him by his actions.”