Far-right leader Marine Le Pen blames Emmanuel Macron for French Government gridlock

Benoit Van Overstraeten and Zhifan Liu
Reuters
"We find ourselves in a quagmire," far-right leader Marine Le Pen said as she arrived at parliament. (AP PHOTO)
"We find ourselves in a quagmire," far-right leader Marine Le Pen said as she arrived at parliament. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

France’s left-wing alliance and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist bloc are battling to put together rival bids to form a government, as far-right leader Marine Le Pen says blame for the political impasse lies squarely with Macron.

The unexpected outcome of Sunday’s snap election, in which the leftist New Popular Front (NFP) benefited from a surprise surge but no group won an absolute majority, has plunged France into uncertainty.

To further complicate things, leaders within each camp disagree on who to reach out to in order to try to cobble together a deal.

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Any government — of the left, centre, or a broader coalition — could quickly fall victim to a confidence vote from the opposition if it has not secured sufficient solid support.

“Today, we find ourselves in a quagmire since no one is able to know from what rank the prime minister will come, or what policy will be pursued for the country,” far-right leader Marine Le Pen told reporters on Wednesday as she arrived in parliament.

Le Pen condemned pre-election deals she said kept her National Rally (RN) party from power.

Macron, whose term ends in 2027, called the parliamentary ballot after his party was trounced by the far right in EU elections in June, had said it would clarify the landscape, which has not happened.

“To say the least, this is not a great success for Emmanuel Macron,” Le Pen quipped.

Amid warnings from rating agencies, financial markets, the European Commission and France’s eurozone partners are watching closely to see whether the impasse can be broken.

It would be customary for Macron to call on the biggest parliamentary group to form a government, but nothing in the constitution obliges him to do so.

Options include a broad coalition and a minority government, which would pass laws in parliament on a case-by-case basis, with ad hoc agreements.

Phones are ringing constantly, political sources have told Reuters, with some centrists hoping they can reach a deal with the conservative The Republicans and edge the left out.

“I think there is an alternative to the New Popular Front,” Aurore Berge, a senior MP from Macron’s Renaissance group told France 2 TV.

“I think the French don’t want the NFP’s platform to be implemented, I think they don’t want tax increases.”

Leftist leaders also took to the airwaves to stress that, having topped the election, they should run the government.

But without a deal yet on who could be prime minister, they face growing competition from the right and centre.

Carole Delga, from the Socialist Party, stressed the left on its own could not govern and must extend its hand to others - but on the basis of the NFP’s tax-and-spend program.

But others took a harder line.

“The NFP has the greatest number of deputies in the National Assembly, it is therefore up to the NFP to constitute a government ... this is what we are working towards,” Manuel Bompard, from France Unbowed, told LCI TV.

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