PARIS, July 4 (Xinhua) — Even in normal times, Macron needs the help of his allies to govern France.
In order to get something done, he teamed up with the traditional right. The centre-left has helped the French president achieve other things. The challenge is the greatest the French leader has faced in more than two decades: he has to persuade politicians in the National Assembly to back even a small domestic project.
Governing an already polarized country is now all but impossible for Macron after a suburban police officer stopped a yellow A-Class Mercedes and fatally shot the 17-year-old driver in the chest. One shot sparked six days of riots across the country.
Macron’s centrist Baath Party and its close allies won just 251 of 577 seats after Macron won a second five-year term with 58 percent of the vote in a runoff with far-right leader Marine Le Pen last year. .
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Despite his narrow victory, Macron has big dreams. His first big goal is to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, which he must force through parliament. He then wants to re-industrialise France, improve working conditions and finalize a new immigration bill. Abroad, Macron has advocated for European sovereignty and independence in areas such as the economy, energy and defense.
But all of this had to be done halfway.
Macron cut short his trip to a European summit in Brussels last week to hold a crisis meeting with the government. This week, he postponed at the last minute a visit to Germany aimed at demonstrating the strength of their friendship despite disputes over issues such as energy, defense and the economy.
His change in agenda echoed another troubling development for the French leader three months ago, when King Charles III’s planned state visit to France was postponed due to violent protests over pension reform.
German Chancellor Scholz said he was following the situation in France with concern.
“I very much hope, and I believe, that the French president will find a way to quickly improve the situation,” he told ARD television. “I don’t think France will become destabilized, even if the pictures are of course very depressing.”
Countries including the United States, Britain and China have urged citizens to exercise caution when traveling to France.
Kenyan President William Ruto praised Macron’s deep engagement after the climate summit last month. “You run like a Kenyan … it’s like a marathon,” he told Macron.
The question for Macron now is whether he will have the stamina to face the political situation at home.
“The problem is he still has four years left,” said Luc Rouban, a senior researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).
He noted that Macron has faced a series of protests and street riots since the Yellow Vests movement against social injustice broke out in 2018.
The growing “rejection of the system” is part of a broader critique of “a social order that involves inequality, which is fundamentally quite hypocritical, especially as schools don’t allow people to be as successful as they used to be,” Luban said .
Schools, town halls, police stations and other public institutions were attacked.
Rouban said Macron “doesn’t have much wiggle room other than distributing subsidies”, which is also difficult due to France’s heavy debt load.
Last month, Macron hosted the Global Climate and Finance Summit in the French capital, where more than 50 heads of state, government and leaders of international organizations attended, underscoring his international leadership.
Macron traveled to Marseille last week to push the government’s efforts to inject billions of dollars into schools, housing and security, and to improve the lives of residents of low-income neighborhoods in France’s second-largest city.
Macron will meet at the presidential palace on Tuesday with the mayors of more than 220 towns and cities that have fretted over incidents and damage in recent days.
Luban said Le Pen appeared to be the one who came out of the woods and was in a better position. She has been positioning herself as Macron’s main political opponent and has continued her strategy of erasing the image of far-right national rallies, he said.
“These shocking events have brought our leaders back to reality,” Le Pen said in a video posted on her social media account last week. “I intend to maintain our course of conduct not to take any action to prevent or challenge the actions of legitimate authorities responsible for public order.”
Workers prepare for Bastille Day celebrations on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on Monday, setting up seats and barriers for crowds expected to attend Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s traditional military parade on July 14.
Another big deadline looms: next year’s Olympics in Paris, the suburbs and other French cities. Organizers and authorities have promised the Games will be safe. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)