France’s largest trade union exhorts Macron to consult civil society to build next term

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The president of the CFDT, the largest of France’s five trade unions, has called on newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron to take into the account the millions of people who voted for him, but who do not agree with him, and has asked for a large social concertation to set the agenda for his next term in office.

The CFDT endorsed Macron in the second-round runoff, to counter far-right leader Marine Le Pen, and voters “gave him their votes but not their voices” wrote the trade union’s president, Laurent Berger, in an open letter published Tuesday in the daily Le Monde.

“Mr Macron now must listen to them,” he wrote.

On Sunday night, Macron thanked his supporters for re-electing him, but also acknowledged those who had voted “not to support the ideas that I put forward, but to block those of the far right”. He said those votes will have an impact “on the coming years”.

Evoking the “feeling of abandonment of a part of the population”, Berger called on the President to organise a large social meeting to bring together people from across civil society, from trade unions to associations, to have a say in the decisions in his next five-year term.

The President “must listen to voices” calling for a “redistribution of wealth” and a “massive investment in a fair ecological transition”, wrote Berger, adding in a personal call to Macron: "Mr President, you cannot face these challenges by yourself.”

As Macron launches his second term, he is already looking to shake up his government, naming a new Prime Minister before the June legislative elections.

His choice will send a signal to those who reluctantly voted for him.

During the campaign, Macron said he would put his next prime minister in charge of "green planning", an attempt to appeal to left-wing voters' nostalgia for post-war central planning while tapping into 21st century worries about climate change.

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