PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron called Wednesday for “responsibility and cooperation” from other political parties in his first speech since losing an absolute majority in parliament, suggesting it could be possible to build a coalition deal to pass legislation.
“As in most Western democracies, whether it is Germany, Italy, or many others, no single political force can make the laws today,” Macron said in a televised address. “We must collectively learn to govern and regulate differently.”
In the second round of the parliamentary election last Sunday, Macron’s centrist coalition came in first but won just 246 seats out of the 289 needed to maintain its prior absolute parliamentary majority, while parties on both the far left and far right gained ground. That spells trouble ahead for Macron’s reform plans, just two months after he won a second term in office as president.
Macron said he regretted the low level of turnout, with more than one in two voters opting not to cast a ballot in the second round, as well as the “fractures, the profound divisions that run through our country and are reflected in the composition of the new Assembly.”
The president said his allies in parliament must now try to “expand, either by building a coalition deal or by building text-by-text majorities.” He also said he still intends to push ahead with his planned reforms “to continue to create more wealth, more work and more innovation.”
Macron also called for creating “new compromises based on dialogue, listening and respect” and urged the other political groups to indicate “how far they are willing to cooperate.”
“I have been convinced of the need to go beyond politics since day one,” he said. “I know that it responds to the aspiration of many of you to get out of the political quarrels.”
His political opponents were quick to respond. Adrien Quatennens, coordinator of the radical left France Unbowed, tweeted: “Macron challenges political groups: will you vote for my laws? The question should be returned to him: and you, will you vote for the opposition’s bills?”
Communist leader Fabien Roussel also tweeted: “Macron is discovering the virtues of parliamentary debate and the true role of the National Assembly in 2022! We will judge him by his actions.”