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Macron camp seeks allies after poll rout

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French President Emmanuel Macron (AP photo)

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist camp scrambled on Monday to secure support from rivals to salvage some of its reform agenda after weekend elections delivered a fragmented parliament that leaves France at risk of political paralysis. The loss of his Ensemble alliance’s absolute majority is a bitter setback for Macron, himself elected for a second term in April. French governments have long been used to having a lower house of parliament that shares their political line and largely rubber-stamps proposals. Sunday’s second-round vote left Ensemble as the biggest party, with a fledgling leftwing alliance determined to make its voice heard in second place, the far-rightstronger than ever and the conservatives as potential kingmakers.
Macron will this week hold talks with representatives of the main political parties to find a way forward, the presidency said. The aim of the talks Tuesday and Wednesday at the Elysee Palace will be to “build solutions to serve the French” at a time when there is no “alternative majority” to that of Macron’s ruling alliance, said a presidential official. The official said representatives of the parties would be received at the Elysee separately but without specifying which figures would attend. But this appears to indicate the invitations have been extended to the parties of hard left leader JeanLuc Melenchon and far-right chief Marine Le Pen. Analysts say that Macron may be eying a deal with the traditional rightwing party The Republicans (LR). It confirmed that its leader Christian Jacob had accepted the invitation to attend. There was no immediate comment from the other parties.
Losing control of parliament means Macron will need to shed his top-down approach to politics, which he himself called “Jupiterian”, for a much more consensual stance. Resurgent leftist and far-right forces that have vowed to block his legislative agenda. “Such a fragmented parliament will likely result in political deadlock,” said Philippe Gudin of Barclays. “This will likely weaken France’s position in Europe and further endanger the country’s fiscal position. ” Final figures showed Macron’s centrist camp won 245 seats — well below the 289 needed for majority, Nupes 131, the far-right 89 and Les Republicains 61.

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