Macron’s wind of change set to sweep over France

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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.

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