The impressive victory in presidential elections does not secure power of Emmanuel Macron, who should gain an impressive number of votes in upcoming legislative elections, 11.06.2017, to be able to realise the package of reforms proposed to his compatriots.
Among the ballots dropped for Macron a considerable amount were transferred from Republicans (Gaullist) – centre right and lesser from Socialists, – both mainstream parties endorsed their support to create a ‘barricade’ against the rival anti-globalist Marine Le Pen.
However in legislative elections every political congregation will struggle for proper seats, and it is highly probable that the Republicans will enter the coalition with En Marche! to get the comfortable majority. In this case the Republicans will impose their Prime Minister on Macron. The ‘coexistence’ (or ‘la cohabitation) of a President and Prime Minister from different political parties is not new to French political system. In case with the Republicans (centre right) and En Marche! (centrist) of Macron it would be easier functional tandem than la cohabitation Chirac/Mitterrand (Gaullist vs. Socialist).
However, the real challenge for President Macron’s plans of reform will not come from his political opponents, but the powerful syndicates, which had already opposed ‘Macron Law’ when he served as a Finance minister, attempting to modernise and liberalise economy. The syndicates did not hesitate to take their protests to the streets.
Attempting to reform stagnating French economy, as a minister Macron was blamed to hinder traditional French life-style, and worker’s rights, even dominical work of shops has been largely seen as an attack on Christian traditions, especially in French rural areas.
The entering Élysée Palace as such does not give a cart blanche to reform profoundly archaic French society. The presidency of Francois Hollande was fractured when then prime minister Manuel Valls unveiled a second pro-business reform in 2016 that allowed bosses to fire and hire workers more easily, leading to eruption of massive and violent street protests. Holland’s popularity has never risen since. Forced to give up the claims for the second mandate, the stepped down from the scene of history. But now the pain of his departure soften by his successor, his minister, of his dauphin.
Le roi est mort, vive le roi!