Analysis

  • How Macron's solemn Versailles address was little more than a campaign speech

    President Emmanuel Macron addressing the special Congress at Versailles, July 3rd, 2017. © Capture d'écran France 2 President Emmanuel Macron addressing the special Congress at Versailles, July 3rd, 2017. © Capture d'écran France 2

    In a high-profile and highly-unusual speech before both chambers of the French Parliament in the sumptuous surroundings of Versailles on Monday July 3rd, President Emmanuel Macron claimed to be setting the “course” for his presidency. But, says Ellen Salvi, it turned out to be an hour-and-a-half of messages that had already been delivered during his election campaign and he announced little more than a promise of some institutional reforms.

  • Macron seeks to balance Left and Right with new government

    The official photo of the new French governemnt, June 2017. © Elysée The official photo of the new French governemnt, June 2017. © Elysée

    Following the recent Parliamentary elections President Emmanuel Macron has formed a new government under the same prime minister Édouard Philippe. However, what was supposed to be a minor technical change to the government has become rather larger in scale after the departure of four ministers in response to potential scandals. The result is a government that gives us a glimpse of how the new centrist president intends to balance his administration between the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Stéphane Alliès, Christophe Gueugneau, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Mathilde Mathieu report.



  • Why President Macron chose Morocco for his first visit outside Europe

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    Emmanuel Macron with the King of Morocco Mohammed VI, right, during the French presdent's visit to Rabat on June 14th, 2017. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron with the King of Morocco Mohammed VI, right, during the French presdent's visit to Rabat on June 14th, 2017. © Reuters

    Emmanuel Macron's first visit beyond Europe as French head of state was to Morocco, where anti-corruption protests have caused unprecedented unrest over the past seven months. The visit brought succour to the embattled kingdom but was also a little unsettling for Rabat, which has yet to fully understand the new Macron administration. But it was essentially a trip to signal continuity in Franco-Moroccan relations. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.

  • The terminal collapse of the French Socialist Party

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    Staring at oblivion: Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadélis. © Reuters Staring at oblivion: Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadélis. © Reuters

    The French Socialist Party emerged from last Sunday’s legislative election first round in tatters, dwarfed not only by the massive surge of president Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist party, but also the conservatives, the far-right and, importantly, the radical-left. The results followed its disastrous score in the presidential elections, and it is forecast to be put to the sword in the final round this coming weekend. The party’s debacle is more than a simple election defeat; it signals the end of the road for it as a party of government, argues Fabien Escalona, a specialist in European social democrat movements. In this analysis, he argues that the rare previous examples of parties of Western democracies that have similarly collapsed offer little hope it will ever recover.  

  • The long shadow of abstention hanging over France's parliamentary elections

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    The writing on the wall, to be ignored at a party's peril. © Reuters The writing on the wall, to be ignored at a party's peril. © Reuters

    This Sunday’s first round of voting in France’s parliamentary elections is predicted to see newly-elected centrist president Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling party emerge with a resounding lead. But also forecast is a poor, and possibly record-low, turnout. Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas argues here that, as usual, the abstention rate will be largely ignored by those who win, and used by those who lose to hide the true significance of their defeat, while in fact it delivers a powerful political message to all parties.

     

  • The Russian dolls of the scandal engulfing Macron's minister

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    Richard Ferrand, Minister for Territorial Cohesion, at the Elysée Palace. © Reuters Richard Ferrand, Minister for Territorial Cohesion, at the Elysée Palace. © Reuters

    Richard Ferrand, appointed to President Emmanuel Macron’s first government as Minister for Territorial Cohesion, has become engulfed in a controversy over the employment of his son as his parliamentary assistant and alleged favouritism in a 2011 property deal handed to his wife by a mutual insurance company when Ferrand was its managing director. The allegations against Ferrand, a socialist MP who last year became secretary general of Macron’s En March! movement, are a major embarrassment for the new government which is about to introduce legislation aimed at cleaning-up political life. But, Mediapart’s political commentator Hubert Huertas argues here, Ferrand’s political opponents would do well to think twice about their calls for his dismissal.

  • Jury out on Macron's structural reforms of the French economy

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    Just hours after naming the conservative Edouard Philippe as his prime minister on Monday, France’s new president Emmanuel Macron flew off to pay a visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She, like European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, has hailed the election of pro-EU Macron, and notably his announced structural reforms of France’s economy, which are at the heart of his political programme. Macron considers they represent a panacea for the ills in French society, but are they really appropriate to the country’s economic situation? Romaric Godin weighs up the widely different views on the mantra that there is no alternative to “structural reforms”.  

  • French parliamentary elections: once more, nothing is happening as foreseen

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    Emmanuel Macron (left) with his République en Marche! movement's general secretary Richard Ferrand. Emmanuel Macron (left) with his République en Marche! movement's general secretary Richard Ferrand.

    The result of France’s parliamentary elections in June appears as uncertain as, just weeks ago, did that of the presidential elections. President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling République en Marche! movement has unveiled 428 candidates it will field, comprised mostly of political rookies and unknowns. Meanwhile, the old traditional parties, apprehensive after their presidential election defeat, place their hopes in the electorate backing off from the political unknown of the newly-elected maverick president. Mediapart’s political commentator Hubert Huertas examines why, in these crucial elections, once again nothing is happening as was foreseen.

  • French parties face battle for survival in June parliamentary elections

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    France goes back to the polls next month for crucial legislative elections to decide the composition of the 577-seat lower house, the National Assembly. President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s newly-created maverick centrist movement is hoping to win a majority and, in the process, smash the power of traditional parties of the Left and Right and halt the surge of the far-right. Whatever the outcome of this most uncertain battle for survival, the configuration of the French political scene will emerge profoundly altered, argues political scientist Fabien Escalona.

  • Macron's campaign hampered by his own image

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    Emmanuel Macron at the Chamber of Commerce in Amiens, April 26th, 2017. © Nicolas Serve / Hans Lucas Emmanuel Macron at the Chamber of Commerce in Amiens, April 26th, 2017. © Nicolas Serve / Hans Lucas

    Emmanuel Macron's appeals for a unified front against the far right's Marine Le Pen in the run-off for the presidential election have been hit by a major handicap – himself. The former merchant banker and civil servant's CV, image and policies repel many on both the Left and Right. In response he has sought to offer pledges for those who did not vote for him in the first round. But in essence, says Mathieu Magnaudeix, the centrist candidate is holding to his policy line and is aiming for a major and rapid realignment of French politics if he is elected.