What are the next ‘marches’ for Macron?

There is clearly a lot of relief this week both here in France and around the world following the French election result. There is a real sense of renewed energy and optimism amongst both the French population and those of us who have made France our home.

Certainly there are plenty of people who would not have voted for Macron if there had been a clear alternative but there is also the large majority of the population, particularly the younger generation, who hope that he heralds the start of a much brighter future for them and their country. His party, now called En Marche la Republique, is neither left nor right and he says he wants to renew the French political system from a centrist position.

The French have always had a great deal of pride in their country and a sense of superiority in just being born French. As outsiders, we often laugh at this but right now I admire it and I particularly admire the way that the French have fought against right wing extremism and the politics of isolationism to embrace Europe and the world with the aim of being right at the centre of a force for good rather than to cut ties, turn their backs on the rest of the world and think only about themselves.

So what comes next? Well Macron will appoint a Prime Minister which he has said he will do by the end of the week and, in theory, it is he/she (we live in hope) who has to form a government. In practice, they work together to do this and the President must approve the appointment of government ministers, known as the Conseil des Ministres consisting of around 15-16 individuals although the total size of the ministerial team is typically 30-40 ministers and it is they who determine policy and put new legislation before parliament in the form of bills (projets de loi).

Once the Conseil des Ministres has been decided and six weeks on from the presidential election it is the Elections Législatives, the public elections to vote for the members of the French parliament. This is made up of two houses or chambers; the lower and principal house of parliament known as the Assemblée Nationale and the members, known as députés and these will be elected by the public in legislative elections in the middle of June. There are currently 577 députés and Macron says he will contest every seat – he needs 290 seats for a majority.  As yet, his party has no elected Ministers so this is no small task. He has pledged that at least 50% of his candidates will have no political affiliation and half will be women. Currently the Socialists have a majority in the National Assembly. The upcoming legislative elections involve two rounds; a candidate can be elected in the first round by obtaining an absolute majority of votes or, in the second round, with votes totaling at least 12.5 per cent.

After this, Macron has to deal with the upper chamber of parliament known as the Sénat. Senators are chosen by “grands électeurs” who are the mayors and other locally elected representatives. They are elected for six years and half of seats come up for election every three years. There are currently 348 senators and the Republicans currently have a majority.

So there is no time for Macron to sit back and enjoy his victory; he has a huge task ahead. For the Europeans amongst us, the good news is that Macron is very pro-European and pro- open borders and tolerance which can only be good news for everyone.


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