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Macron holds post-election talks with French party leaders

French President Emmanuel Macron (Michel Spingler, Pool/AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron (Michel Spingler, Pool/AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron is holding talks with France’s main party leaders after his centrist alliance failed to win an absolute majority in parliamentary elections.

The meetings at the Elysee presidential palace come after prime minister Elisabeth Borne formally offered her resignation on Tuesday, in line with the tradition after parliamentary elections.

Mr Macron immediately rejected the offer and maintained the current government.

His alliance, Together!, won 245 seats in Sunday’s parliamentary elections – but fell 44 seats short of a majority in the National Assembly, France’s most powerful house of parliament.

President of French rightist party Les Republicans Christian Jacob arrives for a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris
President of Les Republicans Christian Jacob arrives for a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris (Francois Mori/AP)

The leftist Nupes coalition won 131 seats to become the main opposition force.

The far-right National Rally got 89 seats in the 577-member chamber, up from its previous eight.

Mr Macron was to hold successive meetings with opposition members, including the president of The Republicans, Christian Jacob, the head of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Other meetings were scheduled on Wednesday.

Mr Macron was also to meet with representatives of his own party and allied movements.

Talks were aiming at finding “potential constructive solutions” to the situation, according to Mr Macron’s office.

Mr Macron has not publicly commented on the elections’ results yet.

With the most seats at the National Assembly, Mr Macron’s government still has the ability to rule, but only by bargaining with legislators.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen casts her ballot for the first round of the parliamentary elections on Sunday in Henin-Beaumont, northern France
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen casts her ballot for the first round of the parliamentary elections on Sunday in Henin-Beaumont, northern France (Michel Spingler/AP)

To prevent potential deadlock, Mr Macron’s party and allies may try to negotiate on a case-by-case basis with legislators from the centre-left and from the conservative party.

Mr Macron was re-elected in April on an agenda including measures to boost purchasing power, tax cuts and raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65.

On his way out of the Elysee, Mr Jacob said The Republicans, who hold 61 seats, will remain an opposition force and will not enter into any “pact or coalition” with Mr Macron’s centrists.

However, he opened the door to voting in favour of some measures if they are in line with his party’s platform.

He notably mentioned pension changes, since the conservatives are, like Mr Macron, in favour of raising the retirement age.

The Socialist leader Olivier Faure told reporters “it’s possible to move forward” but “we won’t approve policies which would be contrary to commitments we made to the French”.

The Socialist party’s first secretary Olivier Faure arrives for a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris
The Socialist Party’s first secretary Olivier Faure arrives for a meeting with Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace (Francois Mori/AP)

Mr Faure advocated for a measure proposed by the leftist coalition to bring the monthly minimum salary from about 1,300 euros (£1,115) to 1,500 euros (£1,290).

Mr Macron will also soon need to handle another issue: a government reshuffle.

Three ministers – out of the 15 who were running for re-election – have lost their seats and will not be able to stay in the government under the rules he set.

Government members were to hold a meeting on Tuesday afternoon at the prime minister’s office.

While keeping him busy at home, the situation at parliament is not expected to destabilise Mr Macron’s international agenda.

The French president holds substantial powers over foreign policy, European affairs and defence.

Mr Macron is to travel to Brussels for a European summit scheduled on Thursday and Friday.

He will then head to a G7 meeting in Germany next week, followed by a Nato summit in Spain and a brief visit to Portugal.