France’s Macron looks to past post-win, gears up for future

France's Macron looks to past post-win, gears up for future

PARIS — French President-elect Emmanuel Macron laid the groundwork Monday for his transition to power, announcing a visit to Germany and a name change for his political movement and appearing with his predecessor at a solemn World War II commemoration.

Macron handily defeated far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s presidential runoff, and now must pull together a majority of lawmakers in the mid-June legislative election.

The task, though, may prove tricky for a president who had never run for a political office before and for his fledgling political movement La Republique En Marche (Republic On the Move). Macron is the first president of modern France elected as an independent.

Macron’s party, previously known as a movement called simply En Marche, is preparing a list of candidates for next month’s parliamentary election. Macron has promised that half of those candidates will be new to elected politics, as he was before his victory on Sunday.

Many voters who had supported other candidates in the election’s first round reluctantly cast runoff ballots for Macron only to prevent Le Pen from entering the Elysee Palace. His rivals now will be motivated to keep Macron from making further gains during the two-round parliamentary election. All 577 seats in the National Assembly are up for grabs.

Macron has said he was aiming to secure an absolute majority in the lower chamber through the June 11 and 18 elections. If he does, he would be able to pick the candidate of his choice to lead the government as prime minister.

But if another party wins a majority, the new president could be pressured to choose a prime minister from that party, a situation the French call “cohabitation.” The last time France had “cohabitation” was during in 1997-2002 under President Jacques Chirac, who described the setup as a state of “paralysis.”

If Macron’s party performs poorly, he also could be forced to form a coalition government, a regular occurrence in many European countries but far less common in France. In a poll, 59 per cent of Macron voters said they supported him primarily to keep Le Pen from becoming president.

Le Pen says she will lead the opposition to Macron.

Macron won the presidency with 66 per cent of the votes cast for a candidate, but the election also had a high number of blank or spoiled votes and an unusually low turnout.

Monday was a French national holiday marking decades of peace in Western Europe, something Macron made a cornerstone of his campaign against Le Pen’s brand of nationalist populism. Macron joined President Francois Hollande in a commemoration of the formal German defeat in World War II.

It was the first time the men had appeared in public together since Macron resigned in August 2016 as Hollande’s economy minister to run for president — a decision that was received coldly by the French leader at the time.

On Monday, though, Hollande gripped Macron’s arm before the two men walked side by side and then announced the transfer of power would take place on Sunday.

Le Pen had called for France to leave the 28-nation European Union and drop the shared euro currency in favour of reinstating the French franc.

After her decisive loss, the National Front also geared up for a name change — if not a makeover of its ideas. In interviews Monday, National Front officials said the party founded by her father would get a new name to try and draw in a broader spectrum of supporters.

“The National Front is a tool that will evolve to be more efficient, bring even more people together after the number of voters we reached last night. And so we have an immense responsibility vis-a-vis the French people, who trust us,” said Nicolas Bay, the party’s secretary-general.

Sylvie Goulard, a French deputy to the European Parliament, said Macron would make Berlin his first official visit, with perhaps a stop to see French troops stationed abroad as well.

Leaders in Germany and Britain praised Macron’s victory, but viewed it through their own electoral challenges.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed his win, but appeared cautious about proposals to support his economic plans either by relaxing European spending rules or with a dedicated stimulus fund.

“German support can’t replace French policies,” she said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May said Macron’s election makes it even more important for British voters to back her Conservatives and strengthen Britain’s hand in EU exit talks.

May has called an early election for June 8, arguing that her Conservatives need a bigger majority in order to stand firm against — and strike deals with — the EU.

On the financial front, European stock markets edged down in early trading as investors had been widely expecting Macron’s victory.

Though Macron’s victory is considered positive for the region’s economy and the euro currency, stocks had risen strongly in the previous two weeks on expectations of his win.

France’s CAC 40 index, which last week touched the highest level since early 2008, slipped 1 per cent on Monday. The euro, which had risen Sunday night to a six-month high against the dollar, edged back down 0.5 per cent to $1.0946.

___

Helena Alves, Thomas Adamson, Philippe Sotto in Paris and Carlo Piovano in London contributed.

Sylvie Corbet And Lori Hinnant, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Myra Falls re-opening gets a timeline

Mine suspended operations in 2015 but is set to start removing ore again early next year

Walter Morgan Shed to finally get its renovation

City sees heritage value in the property and will fund renewal project to the tune of $200,000

Oyster River structure fire leaves two families without a home

With less than two weeks until Christmas, two Oyster River families are… Continue reading

Campbell River senior occupies MLA, MP’s office; challenges prime minister to wrestle

Wants immediate action taken on homelessness and seniors poverty

North Island College’s TV and Film Crew Training building excitment

Walking into the warehouse where the NIC TV and Film Crew Training… Continue reading

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read