Macron’s wind of change set to sweep over France
PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron’s government yesterday promised to reshape France’s political landscape after winning the commanding parliamentary majority he sought to push through far-reaching pro-growth reforms.
Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) party and its centre-right Modem ally won 350 out of 577 lower house seats in Sunday’s election, which marked a record low turnout for a parliamentary ballot in the post-war Fifth Republic.
Government spokesperson Christophe Castaner said the high abstention rate – more than 50% of voters stayed at home – was a failure for the governing class and highlighted the need for new politics.
“The real victory wasn’t last night, it will be in five years’ time when we have really changed things,” Castaner told RTL radio.
He also said dissent would not be tolerated among the dozens elected on the Macron party ticket, including many newcomers such as 24-year-old law school graduate Typhanie Degois.
“Being a member of parliament for Republic on the Move is a commitment to Emmanuel Macron’s presidential programme. It’s about loyalty,” he said, adding that the previous Socialist government was dogged by dissenters pursuing personal goals.
Though lower than forecast by pollsters, Macron’s majority swept aside France’s main traditional parties, humiliating the Socialists and conservative The Republicans party that had alternated in power for decades.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and his government were set to resign later yesterday or today and form a new cabinet, which spokesperson Castaner said he believed would again be led by Philippe.
Investors welcomed Macron’s win, with the gap between French and German bond yields holding near its tightest level in seven months.
“After the reforms, which we expect Macron to implement, France could turn into the strongest of all major economies in Europe in the next decade, outclassing a Germany that is resting on its laurels and a UK that (through Brexit) is impairing its long-term growth prospects,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at German bank Berenberg.
During the presidential campaign Macron also promised to cut corporate tax to 25% from 33% and invest heavily in energy, vocational training and transport infrastructure. But he will have to be mindful of a budget deficit that the Bank of France has forecast.
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Paris Air Show yesterday.