French president Emmanuel Macron admits he ‘can’t ignore political deadlock’ in TV address

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President Macron giving a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening   (REUTERS)
President Macron giving a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening (REUTERS)

French president Emmanuel Macron has broken his silence about the parliamentary crisis enveloping his administration, saying: “I can’t ignore the political gridlock and divisions in our country.”

The head of state addressed his nation on live TV on Wednesday evening – three days after losing his majority in the National Assembly – and appeared to rule out a National Unity government made up of all parties.

Expressing his frustration about the result of Sunday’s parliamentary election – when his Together coalition was 44 seats under the necessary 289 figure for a majority – Mr Macron said: “Unfortunately not everyone went out to vote, and now I can’t ignore the political gridlock and divisions in our country.

“The fractures are very clear – in our inner city areas, and in rural areas. We have 577 seats in our parliament and now we must make a choice about how we are going to form a majority.

“We have to learn how to legislate differently – that’s what you have asked for. We don’t have to stay in a situation of inertia.

“I see the country is asking for change, because it’s my role as the person in charge of institutions, I’m the person who can look for this compromise in the National Assembly.”

Despite such words, Mr Macron said that neither the far-Right National Rally (NR), nor the Left Wing Nupes alliance, had shown much enthusiasm for a government of National Unity.

He has spent the last two days talking to party leaders, including the NR’s Marine Le Pen, and Nupes’s Jean-Luc Melenchon.

“We have seen that everybody wants to make sure that everything is not blocked,” said Mr Macron.

“The majority of leaders have spoken about the fact that people do not think the country is ready of a National Unity government.”

Instead, Mr Macron said options included coalition building, possibly over every piece of proposed legislation in a “bill-by-bill case”.

Measures that the President hopes to get through include raising the retirement age in France from 62 to 65, but this is likely to be blocked by the opposition.

“We need a large and clear majority,” he said. “I was convinced from the start that we need more compromise – to go beyond quarrels and division. Clarity is essential.

“You want us to be responsible credible and well financed. We need to take some urgent decisions for the future of the country and to make sure that your everybody’s lives can be lived without having to worry about more debt and more stress.”

If the political crisis deepens further then Mr Macron, who came to power in 2017 and who is currently in his second term of office, may have to call another snap parliamentary election.

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