Politically weakened Macron refuses to resign as prime minister last month


French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne offered her resignation to President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, but he did not accept it. Borne submitted his resignation after the dramatic legislative elections in which Macron’s coalition lost an absolute majority.

Borne only started as prime minister last month. It is customary in France for the prime minister to leave after such a heavy political defeat. Borne is only the second female Prime Minister of France and the first in thirty years.

Several members of Macron’s cabinet are seeing their positions put under pressure due to the election results. For example, Environment Minister Amélie de Montchalin and Deputy Minister for Europe Clément Beaune lost the electoral battle in the constituency from which they come. It is common for French ministers to resign when this happens.

Macron refuses Borne’s resignation because he wants the government to “continue to fulfill its missions” after the electoral defeat. His party bloc fell in the last legislative elections from 350 to 245 seats in the National Assembly, the French House of Representatives. As a result, he must seek new coalition members or tolerance partners, but it will be a difficult search.

Christian Jacob, the leader of the center-right Republicans party which won 61 seats, has already said his party remains in opposition. Olivier Faure said the same thing on behalf of the socialists. It is virtually impossible for Macron to reach an agreement with the biggest opposition parties. The radical left-wing NUPES, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the right-wing nationalist Rassemblem, led by Marine Le Pen, are fierce opponents of the current government’s policies.

Borne must help Macron with a reform program

Borne, 61, advised several Socialist Party ministers earlier in his career. His knowledge of French unions should help the president push through reforms, including Macron’s most controversial election promise: raising the retirement age.

She became transport minister in 2017, after which she served as environment minister. As Prime Minister, she will also be responsible for ensuring that all government decisions align with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

By appointing Borne, Macron tried to outsmart his great rival Mélenchon. Borne is a member of the centre-left TDP, which is affiliated with Macron’s coalition. Mélenchon tries to unite with left-wing parties against Macron. In the presidential elections, the leaders of these parties together obtained 27% of the vote.

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