French opposition tells 'arrogant' Macron: compromise to win support

STORY: "Here we come, here we come, even if Macron doesn't want it, here we come."

French opposition leaders told beleaguered President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday (June 21) that they would not make life easy for him as he sought a way to avoid political paralysis after this weekend's election setback in parliament.

Disaffected voters angry over inflation and Macron's perceived indifference towards hard-up families delivered a hung parliament in Sunday's (June 19) election, leaving the president's centrist alliance several dozen seats short of a ruling majority.

It means his centrist Ensemble bloc will need to find support from among the opposition benches in order to salvage his reform agenda.

Which may be easier said than done.

Head of the conservative Les Republicains party Christian Jacob says Macron had been arrogant in his first term.

“What I told the president again is that it’s out of the question to betray those who trusted us, and those who elected us didn’t do so just for us to enter into any pact or coalition - they elected us for our own programme.”

Les Republicains provide the most obvious place for Macron to find support.

The conservatives' economic platform is largely compatible with Macron's, including his plans to raise the retirement age to 65.

However, the conservatives have so far ruled out a formal German-style coalition pact.

Even so, Jacob said his party would be "responsible" and would not "block the institutions.”

Macron's camp has said it hoped to find and work with moderates on both sides.

The man himself has not spoken publicly since the election.

Sunday's vote delivered a fragmented parliament and plunged France into uncharted waters with no rule book on how to exit the crisis.

If Macron and his alliance fail to secure support, France could face a long spell of political gridlock that may later on compel him to dissolve parliament and call a new election.

Olivier Faure, leader of the Parti Socialiste, which joined the left-wing Nupes bloc ahead of the election, said his party could back some policy proposals - but only if Macron took on board their ideas.

"We are in an opposition, which does not have the majority, because we didn't win the election. But our opposition force is united, together, and we will create an inter-group alliance to allow us to coordinate our activities, our action and our position in the opposition. So don't worry, the left is doing just fine."

As Macron hopes to make new allies, he is also sticking with his old ones.

He has refused to accept Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s resignation, despite calls from his opponents for her to go.

Ministers have insisted the government remains functional.

No easy solution appears to be at hand.

And from Thursday Macron will be distracted by a week of international meetings abroad, including EU, G7 and NATO summits.