Macron Asks French PM to Seek New Cabinet, Parliament Allies

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(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron, whose party lost its outright majority in the lower house of Parliament a week ago, asked Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to form a new cabinet by early July and sound out lawmakers from other parties about reforms.

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While Macron was re-elected for a new five-year mandate in April, his party’s setback in this month’s legislative elections will probably make it harder to push through policy changes, just as France faces mounting debt, soaring inflation and potential energy shortages amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Borne will discuss this week with opposition parties at the National Assembly their views regarding a government agreement and their potential participation in a coalition, Macron said in an interview with Agence France-Presse published Saturday evening. Borne also will sound out lawmakers about a vote of confidence for her new cabinet on July 5 and the budget next autumn, he said.

The basis for these discussions will be the presidential platform, which may be “amended or enriched,” with raising taxes or the country’s debt being red lines, Macron told AFP. The president is still calling for an overhaul of the pension system that would require people to work longer, and reform to achieve full employment.

While opposition parties last week rejected the idea of forming a coalition with Macron’s party, the planned talks will seek to clarify whether the government may push legislation through the hung Parliament by forging alliances on a case-by-case basis.

The Prime Minister said in a tweet Sunday she’ll discuss with parliamentary groups next week their readiness to cooperate with the government before proposing a road map to Macron.

Macron’s party won 245 seats in the 577-strong National Assembly, more than any other group but fewer than when he was first elected in 2017.

Potential allies for the government would range from the communists to the conservative LR party, Macron told AFP. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and far-left party France Unbowed won’t be considered as potential allies for the government, the president said.

“I think there are people of goodwill in left-wing parties and in the republican right with which we can work,” European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on France 3 television Sunday. He mentioned potential coalitions “by projects, bill by bill.”

(Updates with details and comments from Borne and Beaune from the fifth paragraph.)

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