France seeks prime minister (or minister) left and right | International


Although the “wanted prime minister” sign does not hang in Matignon, headquarters of the Executive in France, the candidacies to become the next (or next) head of government do nothing but multiply. After the presidential elections last Sunday, in which Emanuel Macron was ratified as head of state, the opposition parties – led by the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen – are now seeking to obtain a parliamentary majority in the legislative elections in June to impose a cohabitation prime minister that limits the powers of the President of the Republic.

To prevent such a situation, Macron has to propose to the prime minister someone capable of neutralizing the possibility that voters will turn their backs on his party in the next round at the polls. But who to wink at? Should he elect someone who appeals to the more conservative side of his electorate, whose votes he continues to need, as he did during his first term in office by appointing two right-wing prime ministers? Or should he opt for someone well regarded by the social democratic left who, after the debacle of the socialists and the Greens in the first round of the presidential elections at the beginning of April, has been left an orphan of a party, and who has also felt betrayed by Macron’s lack of gestures in his five years of presidency? And last question: isn’t it time to put a woman at the head of the Government?

Macron will have to make bobbin lace to excite many and anger as few as possible. An example of the difficulty of the election is that the Elysee stopped the momentum of the outgoing prime minister. Jean Castex had announced his intention to resign as soon as the presidential elections were over, but the Government has given itself this “transition” week. This Thursday, the last Council of Ministers will be held and the Castex team is not expected to resign until the beginning of the next one. On Sunday, May 1, the unions —very critical of Macron’s intention to increase the retirement age— and other groups have called for launching the first pulse against the new five-year period, and it is not a good idea that a new Executive has to debut with a protest that could be massive and even violent, as on past occasions.

However, everything has to happen quickly: once Castex’s resignation has been submitted, Macron must have the name of his replacement and the team of ministers ready, which according to the French press will be smaller than the current one. Also, he has to take care of his own transition. Officially, Macron has until May 13 to assume the new mandate as President of the Republic. But external events, such as the war in Ukraine, and internal ones – the conservative Republican party announced this Tuesday that he will launch his campaign for the legislative elections on May 7, and that for now he will not ally himself with the macronism— could force you to speed up the schedule, despite the sensitivity of the task.

All this does not resolve, however, the key question that Macron has to answer: Who to appoint?

In the last days of the campaign, the president made a promise that will have to fit in the search for the ideal candidate (or candidate). To win the votes that in the first round of the presidential elections went to the left with Mélenchon, Macron assured that the new prime minister will be “directly in charge of ecological planning.” Inside of the macronism, the most progressive wing recognized these days that a prime minister from their camp would be a good sign after two governments in the hands of former members of LR (Édouard Philippe and Jean Castex). They are also aware that Macron also has to seduce the conservative side, which could prove key to parliamentary alliances in the future.

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In addition to political calculation, “a harmony, a stereophony” is needed between the president and his prime minister, “a deep complicity and an effort to make parliamentary life and political debate passionate,” he told The Figaro the president of the MoDem party, François Bayrou, one of Macron’s most faithful allies.

The candidates

The overwhelming parliamentary majority of Macron’s first term meant that the figure of the prime minister, responsible above all for internal politics, was sifted. But now the role of the head of government has regained prominence, faced with the threat of a potential cohabitation between a president of one party and a prime minister of another, due to lack of support among the 577 seats in contention in June. The Constitution does not oblige the president to appoint a prime minister from the majority of the National Assembly. But if he didn’t, parliamentarians could topple the government he proposed by calling a motion of censure. in extremisthe president could dissolve the National Assembly, but this would cause a paralysis of the Executive and a crisis with an unpredictable ending.

As if there weren’t enough boxes to fill in, many hope that Macron will finally make a bold move on his promises of equality and appoint a woman to the job. And it’s about time: the only prime minister of France was the socialist Edith Cresson, for just 10 months between 1991 and 1992, in the second term of François Mittterrand.

Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition of France, is one of the names that sound strong to occupy the position of chief executive.

There is no lack of candidates for France to finally have another woman at the helm of government affairs. The names have not taken long to emerge, although one of the most considered at first, that of Christine Lagarde, current head of the European Central Bank and minister with Nicolas Sarkozy, has been deflating. The same has happened with Sarkozy’s spokeswoman, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

On the contrary, the current Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, is sounding more and more strongly, although the one in charge of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, has also been mentioned, both from the leftmost wing of the macronism. To them is added that of the former parliamentarian Catherine Vautrin, who already held various positions in the Government with Jacques Chirac. And that of the somehow always omnipresent Ségolène Royal, former socialist candidate for the presidency and former Minister of the Environment, who has said these days that, if she were offered her position, she would think about it.

Of course, there are also men’s pools. If Macron were to look among his current ministers, many tricks would also have, according to the French press, the current Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, his fellow Economy delegate, Olivier Dussopt, or others macronists first hour: from the ex-socialist Richard Ferrand to François Bayrou himself. Until the prime minister of Hollande Bernard Cazeneuve enters the list, that nobody for the moment has confirmed. Macron has the last word.

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