‘Hang on,’ Macron tells minority government ministers


France’s young Minister for Relations with Parliament Olivier Veran attends the opening session of the National Assembly in Paris, France, June 28, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

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  • Macron lost an absolute majority in parliament in June
  • The government will have to negotiate bills with the opposition
  • The Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance remain

PARIS, July 4 (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged his ministers to “hang on”, be ambitious and show a willingness to compromise after carrying out a limited reshuffle that saw no opponents join his camp as he searched for a viable solution. majority in parliament.

Key roles such as prime minister and finance minister remained unchanged in the reshuffle, which signaled no change in policy and was criticized by the opposition as tone-deaf.

Having lost their absolute majority in the lower house of parliament in the June elections, Macron and his government will have to negotiate a bill over opposition support for their planned reforms.

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“We must recognize the refusal of the established parties to be part of a government agreement,” Macron told ministers at the cabinet meeting following the morning reshuffle.

Calling the new political landscape “exceptional”, Macron said he demanded from the government “a lot of ambition, because the country needs reforms… and a spirit of responsibility to build demanding compromises”.

“In this context, you will have to hold on,” he said, as France insoumise (France insoumise, or LFI) announced that it would table a vote of no confidence against the reshuffled government on Wednesday.

LFI would need not only its partners on the left, but also almost all of the far right and conservatives, for the vote of no confidence to succeed, which seems unlikely at this stage. But the government may find it difficult to pass some of its reforms.

The challenges will begin as early as this week with a cost of living bill which is expected to be passed by the government and submitted to parliament.

“REBUILDING TRUST”

Macron brought in the health minister who led France through COVID, Olivier Veran, to sell the government’s policies to voters worried about a spike in inflation.

“We have so much to do to restore trust,” Veran acknowledged.

Speaking after the first meeting of the new French cabinet, Veran confirmed that Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne would not ask for a vote of confidence after delivering her general policy speech in parliament on Wednesday, as had been rumored.

“You can’t force trust, it will be built bill after bill,” Veran said.

Opponents were quick to criticize the limited redesign.

“The President of the Republic ignores the verdict of the ballot boxes and the demand of the French for a different policy”, tweeted Marine Le Pen.

After Macron announced no coalition pact and poached no big names from the opposition in this latest reshuffle, Manuel Bompard, a France Unbowed MP, said: “There are obviously few volunteers for board the Titanic”.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was among the senior cabinet officials who remained in office.

Among the new appointments is Laurence Boone, Deputy Secretary General and Chief Economist of the OECD, who will replace Clément Beaune as Minister for European Affairs, while Beaune becomes the new Minister for Transport.

Damien Abad, the Minister of Solidarity and the Disabled, indicted on suspicion of attempted rape and targeted by other accusations of sexual misconduct, also lost his job. Read more

Abad denied any wrongdoing. He said he was leaving his job “with great regret” but it was for the best, so he could defend himself without harming the government. Read more

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Report by Tassilo Hummel, Myriam Rivet, Michel Rose, Sophie Louet, Benoit Van Overstraeten, Dominique Vidalon; Written by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Jane Merriman, Alison Williams and Catherine Evans

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