France set for 'urgent' government reshuffle in wake of election losses

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France is headed for a government reshuffle after President Emmanuel Macron’s party lost its absolute majority in parliamentary elections, with three out of 15 ministers losing their seats. The president of the National Assembly and the head of the LREM parliamentary group were also casualties after Sunday’s vote, which saw France’s political landscape turned upside down.

The reshuffle will take place "in the next few days”, said government spokesperson Olivia Gregoire, adding the election results had left the executive with “an urgency to act”.

”We do not intend to leave a government where a number of positions are missing," she said, referring to the defeats of Environment Minister Amélie de Montchalin, Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon and Secretary of State for the Sea, Justine Benin.

The trio will be forced to resign their portfolios under rules laid down by Macron himself ahead of the elections. Only ministers who won their seats in the National Assembly are to be allowed to remain in government.

The same rule applies to executives of the presidential party in parliament, with assembly president Richard Ferrand and president of the LREM parliamentary group Christophe Castaner both being given their marching orders.

PM under pressure

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who was elected to the National Assembly for the first time after winning her seat in Calvados, warned the new make-up of parliament presented “a risk” for France.

"We will work from tomorrow to build a working majority,” she said during a televised address Sunday.

Despite Borne’s own election triumph, pressure is mounting on her to be removed from the role of prime minister and replaced with an opposition figure that would be more in keeping with a “government of unity”.

Far-right National Rally vice president Louis Aliot told France Inter that Borne was “too weak” to be able to stay.

“It is crucial to choose a prime minister who allows political continuity and political stability, and she does not represent that,” he said.

On the other side of politics, hard-left MEP Manuel Bompard, of the France Unbowed party at the heart of the leftist Nupes alliance, agreed that “Borne should leave”.

Macron’s centrist Together (Ensemble) coalition took 246 seats in parliament – the smallest majority in the history of the Fifth Republic.

The government will now be forced to negotiate policy changes and reform proposals with 142 Nupes MPs and 89 MPs from the National Rally.

The conservative Les Républicains have emerged as kingmakers in the elections, having won 61 seats.

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