France election: Macron ‘was in minority’ says Aubry
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The forthcoming polls will either grant or deprive Mr Macron of a National Assembly majority. The “image-conscious” President, a professor in French Politics has told Express.co.uk, has appointed Élisabeth Borne as Prime Minister to help him “enter his second term as a reformist” without “stealing any limelight” from him.
Mr Macron’s choice was a strategic one, Professor James Shields believes.
He said: “All French prime ministers get the job because it suits the president. That’s in the nature of presidential powers under the Fifth Republic Constitution.”
But with Nationalist rival Marine Le Pen and extreme-left runner-up Jean-Luc Mélenchon doing all they can to boost their chances in the législatives this summer, Ms Borne’s appointment seems even more so relevant.
France’s Socialist Party and the far-left France Unbowed agreed to form an electoral coalition that they hope will unseat Mr Macron’s parliamentary majority.
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Further, although Mr Macron won with 58.54 percent of the votes, April’s elections are set to be remembered for the remarkable success of the radical parties and for an abstention rate that settled at 28.1 percent – the highest since 1969.
That said, according to Prof Shields, there is a “marketing element” in Ms Borne’s appointment.
He claimed: “After a presidential election marked by high abstention and record scores for far-right and far-left, Macron is keen to show that he understands voters’ impatience for greener and more socially inclusive policies.
“Following two centre-right Prime Ministers in [Édouard] Philippe and [Jean] Castex, a prime minister with centre-left credentials will help counter the charge that Macron is a ‘president of the rich’.
“If she [Ms Borne] has any political footprint, it is on the centre-left.”
The 61-year-old ticks a range of key boxes, the professor argued – one of them being she is a woman.
She’s “only the second female prime minister in the history of the 64-year-old Fifth Republic” as well as a “former environment and labour minister”, he said.
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Importantly, Prof Shields added, she isn’t all that different to the President: “She is loyal to her bosses and tirelessly efficient.
“Like Macron, she loves detail and is reportedly a workaholic.
“She can be trusted to get on with the thankless job of implementing the president’s second-term agenda, driving difficult reforms on cost of living, employment, the environment, and the explosive issue of raising the pension age from 62 to 65.”
However, in order to get the plates spinning on all of the above matters, Mr Macron needs a majority next month.
In what can be viewed as a sign he is trying to reshape his Cabinet ahead of the key vote, only three senior ministers — Gérald Darmanin at the interior ministry, Bruno Le Maire for economics and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti — have survived the extensive shake-up of the Elysée Palace.
Mr Macron wants a good team – but one that won’t put his top role at stake, Prof Shields suggested as he described the “dynamics of power in France” as an element that must be taken into “important consideration”.
The Prime Minister’s appointment reflects that, he said: “Borne will not pose a threat to her boss and is unlikely to ever go on manoeuvres to replace him.
“Macron has a knack of appointing obscure but highly able and safe prime ministers who will do the job without treading on his presidential patch – no limelight-stealing from Jupiter allowed.”
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