Macron's party undergoes a 'Renaissance' ahead of parliamentary polls

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President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche party (the Republic on the Move) has changed its name to "Renaissance". The French leader has also announced the formation of a centrist coalition to try and win a majority in parliament for his second term in office.

“We are initiating a movement to rebuild La République en Marche (LREM) in order to continue expanding this political movement … in a political party that will carry the name of the Renaissance,” party secretary Stanislas Guerini told a press conference on Thursday.

The choice of the name Renaissance was to show the party would “always choose enlightenment over obscurantism”, he said.

The rebranding of the party comes as campaigning for June parliamentary elections is set to begin.

Polls suggest Macron’s centrist party has a good chance of securing a majority in France's National Assembly, but it faces strong competition from a new left-wing alliance led by hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, as well as Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally.

The name change is aimed at helping Macron’s party gain ground in local government, where it is far less established than the older mainstream Republicans and Socialists.

“It will be a party of the people, open to citizens,” Guerini said, adding that local elected officials “wherever they come from” were most welcome.

Centrist coalition

Guérini also announced the Renaissance party would be teaming up with two other centrist parties to fight next month’s elections.

Its traditional allies in the MoDem party, led by Francois Bayrou, and the new Horizons party founded by Macron’s former prime minister Edouard Philippe are uniting under the banner Ensemble (Together).

Renaissance, which was also the name given to Macron’s party list in the 2019 European election, will field 400 candidates, he added.

This is not the first time the party has changed its name.

Macron created the political movement En Marche (On the Move) in 2016, when he was economy minister, to fuel his 2017 presidential bid, vowing to reform France.

Based on his own initials EM, it was seen as a very personal and unconventional branding, designed to stand out from traditional political parties.

In 2017 it became LREM for the parliamentary elections, during which Macron’s party won an outright majority.

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