French president’s project of reform at risk

    WORLD  22 June 2024 - 05:04

    The Economist carries an article about a snap election in France which reveals the flimsiness of President Macron’s legacy, Caliber.Az reprints the article.

    It may not measure up to Napoleon’s march on Moscow in 1812, but Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call a parliamentary election this month is looking like one of the most self-destructive gambles by a French leader in modern times. After seven years under his centrist government, voters’ judgment threatens to be severe. It may well plunge France into a political, and perhaps even economic, crisis. One victim would be Mr Macron’s own project of reform.

    The signs so far are ominous. The stockmarket has fallen by four per cent since he made his announcement on June 9, the night of his party’s drubbing in the European Parliament elections at the hands of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally. Share prices in France’s three big banks are down by almost 10 per cent. Bond spreads are widening. Euro-elections tend to be a protest vote, not a reflection of how people will express themselves when choosing their national parliament. This time, however, their anger now has barely a week left to dissipate and the polls show no sign that it will.

    The president faces a squeeze between Ms Le Pen’s hard right and a rapidly created New Popular Front that includes powerful hard-left elements, especially the Unsubmissive France party dominated by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former Trotskyist. Mr Macron seems to have assumed such an alliance would not be formed so fast. France’s parliamentary elections use a two-round system, with a high threshold for going through to the second round. The danger is that most of the president’s men and women will not make it that far—leaving a choice between the xenophobic nationalists and the anti-capitalist radicals. His political group, Ensemble, faces losing half its seats or more.

    Mr Macron will remain in office; his term does not expire until 2027. But although the president has extensive powers over defence and foreign policy, new domestic policy, like the budget, needs to be voted through by parliament. Administering it is the preserve of the government, headed by a prime minister whom the president picks but whom parliament can dismiss through a simple confidence vote. In practice, Mr Macron will have little choice but to offer the job to the nominee of whichever party or alliance comes top. Mr Macron may hope that his centrists can forge a post-election alliance with other moderates, but the numbers do not look close to adding up.

    That leaves three options: a hung parliament, or a government of either the hard right or hard left. None of them is good. Both the right and the left are committed to doing things France cannot afford. These include imposing punitive wealth taxes, slashing vat on fuel and scrapping Mr Macron’s reforms of the pension system, so that France can go back to one of the earliest retirement ages in the world. (The right would add harsh restrictions on immigration, citizenship and free movement to the mix; the left, a big jump in the minimum wage.) The problems are compounded by the fact that France is already running a high budget deficit, of over five per cent of GDP this year.

    The most likely outcome is a hung parliament with an unstable government. It might be even worse. As everyone jockeyed for advantage in the presidential poll in three years’ time, legislation would struggle to get through, even a budget. The gridlock could spread to the European Union. The one thing the hard left and right might agree on would be to ditch most of the past seven years’ reforms.

    Mr Macron’s ambition was to transform France’s political system by strengthening its moderate elements, and to permanently shift the national consensus towards economic modernisation. Right now his legacy looks more likely to be reforms that do not stick and a political centre that has been eviscerated—so much so that his successor as president may yet be his nemesis, Ms Le Pen.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

UN court declares Israeli settlements in West Bank, East Jerusalem illegal

19 July 2024 - 19:40

POLITICO: Kamala Harris allies quietly prepare for potential Biden withdrawal

19 July 2024 - 20:04

Ukraine secures accelerated F-16 delivery from Poland

19 July 2024 - 21:04

NASA cancels VIPER lunar rover mission

19 July 2024 - 20:28

Complex India-China relationship amidst shifting dynamics

20 July 2024 - 01:03

Japan faces surge in Covid-19 cases amidst new variant

19 July 2024 - 23:03
ADVERTS
Video
Latest news

    Complex India-China relationship amidst shifting dynamics

    20 July 2024 - 01:03

    Japan faces surge in Covid-19 cases amidst new variant

    19 July 2024 - 23:03

    UN rep calls for global unity ahead of COP29

    19 July 2024 - 21:16

    Ukraine secures accelerated F-16 delivery from Poland

    19 July 2024 - 21:04

    Azerbaijan proposes $1 billion climate finance action fund at COP29

    19 July 2024 - 20:52

    Azerbaijan announces significant housing developments in Zangilan

    PHOTO

    19 July 2024 - 20:48

    Azerbaijan launches COP29 partnership programme for local businesses

    19 July 2024 - 20:40

    NASA cancels VIPER lunar rover mission

    19 July 2024 - 20:28

    Azerbaijan guarantees accessible voting in liberated areas for snap elections

    19 July 2024 - 20:16

    Azerbaijan’s COP29 CEO urges limited hydrocarbon use for climate goals

    19 July 2024 - 20:12

    Azerbaijan opens COP29 Academy to train youth in climate action

    19 July 2024 - 20:09

    POLITICO: Kamala Harris allies quietly prepare for potential Biden withdrawal

    19 July 2024 - 20:04

    COP29 Climate Change Champion highlights ongoing efforts to foster inclusivity

    19 July 2024 - 19:55

    Iran criticizes Israeli Knesset resolution as evidence of racism

    19 July 2024 - 19:52

    UN court declares Israeli settlements in West Bank, East Jerusalem illegal

    19 July 2024 - 19:40

    Man severely injured in mine explosion in Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar

    19 July 2024 - 19:28

    Turkish troops neutralise more terrorists in Syria, Iraq

    VIDEO

    19 July 2024 - 19:16

    Uzbekistan unveils advanced armored personnel carrier

    PHOTO / VIDEO

    19 July 2024 - 19:04

    Azerbaijan promises exemplary COP29 with broad focus on global issues

    19 July 2024 - 18:52

    Russia's breakthrough in UAV technology

    Drone flies with domestic AI chip

    19 July 2024 - 18:40

    Top 10 destinations for Azerbaijani oil

    19 July 2024 - 18:28

    Stoltenberg: Europe must brace for decade-long Ukraine conflict

    19 July 2024 - 18:15

    US unveils new satellite-jamming technology targeting Russian, Chinese ops

    19 July 2024 - 18:02

    Georgian Parliament Chair: No compromise on peace for European integration

    19 July 2024 - 17:50

    China struggles with military AI deployment amid US concerns

    Caliber.Az on YouTube

    19 July 2024 - 17:36

    Azerbaijan revives mining industry in liberated lands

    19 July 2024 - 17:26

    China hits back at NATO for "overstepping boundaries" in meddling Sino-Russian relations

    19 July 2024 - 17:14

    Indian oil giant acquires stakes in Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan projects

    19 July 2024 - 17:02

    British defence chief says UK won't aid Ukraine in attacking Russian targets

    19 July 2024 - 16:50

    Israel skips Gaza peace talks, frustrating officials who believe deal is near

    19 July 2024 - 16:38

    Israeli military confirms Iranian-made drone strike on Tel Aviv

    Investigation underway

    19 July 2024 - 16:36

    Envoy: Iran to double gas exports to Armenia

    19 July 2024 - 16:26

    How Azerbaijan asserts its global influence?

    President Aliyev in London

    19 July 2024 - 16:14

    Türkiye's strategic pivot towards the West

    Economic incentives and geopolitical maneuvers

    19 July 2024 - 16:02

    Trump urges Democrats to drop charges after recounting assassination attempt

    19 July 2024 - 15:50

    Türkiye set to host upcoming "3+3" foreign ministers meeting

    19 July 2024 - 15:38

    Trump's pick of JD Vance as running mate should alarm Europe

    Opinion by The Telegraph

    19 July 2024 - 15:27

    Envoy: UAE may join Gaza stabilisation mission

    19 July 2024 - 15:15

    China’s increasing footprint in Central Asia

    Stepping up military

    19 July 2024 - 15:06

    COP29: The crucial test for global climate action

    Bulgarian media examine upcoming summit's impact

    19 July 2024 - 15:03

All news