May 09, 2017
Macron's first challenges at home
The two immediate challenges Emmanuel Macron is facing at home are resistance to his labour law reform intentions, and his need to reshape the political landscape to gain a majority in parliament.
On day one after Macron's election, there is a first taste of resistance in the form of street protests against his labour law reforms. Labour reforms have been a particularly traumatic experience for the outgoing government. The El Khomri law, which provoked a nationwide protest by trade unions, was imposed by Manuel Valls against parliament. Now everyone is expecting or reminding Macron to do a better job. The radical trade unionists are taking to the streets, while the more cautious headquarters warn against implementing the whole agenda. Macron, who calls trade unionists partners, needs to prove that he can walk the line, engaging them in a reform they want to see abandoned altogether.
The second challenge is political. Reconciling and reshaping the political landscape was his message, but how? Before the elections he set clear conditions to stir up momentum behind him and to win a majority: those who wish to rally behind him need to give up their party membership and join his movement En Marche!. And he promised a balance between left and right, and between civil society and politicians. Now, one day after his elections, his movement is turning into a party, and the conditions of membership are becoming less stringent, writes Marianne. No longer do politicians have to give up their previous party membership to join La Republique en marche!, the new party that emerged from the movement En Marche!. Socialists, centrists, and Republicans, are welcome to join and can keep their affiliation. This is another way of putting pressure onto other parties, as they are the ones that do not allow a second party affiliation. There is also a more relaxed interpretation of what civil society means. Jean-Paul Delevoye from the party committee said yesterday that this could also include mayors and councillors, as long as this is their first legislative election.
Several among the Republicans are interested. Those who are 'Macron compatible' will meet this week, writes l’Opionion. This younger generation of the Republicans either explicitly support the idea of joining Macron or are exploring the possibilities more discreetly. The main protagonists of this idea, among them Bruno Le Maire and Jean-Louis Borloo, seek to get many supporters behind their movement. Their motto that it is better to spend five years to rebuild the country than the party. But Macron has to assure them that the prime minister cannot be a Socialist. A centrist, yes, but no Socialist.
One of the crucial question is about timing. If they were to jump off the Republican platform before the legislative elections, it would split the left wing of the party. If it happens after the elections in June, there would be less collateral damage. But the party’s hard line has so far not changed. François Baroin warns that whoever rallies for Macron’s movement will be excluded from the Republicans. Could this change, Just as it did for En Marche!, after the elections in June?