“When the President of the Republic despises the parliamentary function”

“By persisting in being only the President of a few, Emmanuel Macron is committing a political and moral fault”. THOMAS SAMSON / AFP

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – By adopting a closed posture vis-à-vis the opposition during his televised intervention on June 22, the President of the Republic takes the risk of provoking a political crisis, analyzes the essayist Mathieu Slama.

Consultant and political analyst, Mathieu Slama collaborates with several media, notably Le Figaro and Le Huffington Post. He published Farewell to freedom – Essay on the disciplinary society (Presses de la Cité, January 2022).


Emmanuel Macron clearly did not understand the message sent to him by the French during these legislative elections. His speech on June 22 bears witness to this.

It starts with a lie, at least with a totally erroneous reading of the presidential election. “You elected me on the basis of a clear project and giving me clear legitimacy“. Nothing is more false than that. For two reasons. The first is that the Head of State was elected last April with the vote of only 38.5% of registered voters, once abstention is taken into account. This is one of the lowest scores of the Fifth Republic, which testifies to the serious problems of legitimacy which the President of the Republic must face. Because yes: a majority of French people did not vote for him. It is a fundamental element that Macron seems to forget in his speech, and which nevertheless changes everything: because when one is so badly elected, one must have the concern for harmony and compromise. Especially since the legislative elections have aggravated this problem of legitimacy: not only in the fact that the French have refused the Head of State an absolute majority, but also in the fact that only 16.5% of registered voters gave their voice to the macronist movement.?

A large part of Emmanuel Macron’s voters therefore voted for him by default, out of fear of the far right and by republican reflex, and not out of conviction.

Mathieu Straw

No, Emmanuel Macron did not receive “clear legitimacy” from the French. He was elected as part of a duel with the far right, and therefore benefited from many “blocking” votes, especially from the left. According to an Ipsos poll, 42% of Emmanuel Macron’s voters in the second round of the presidential election voted for him in order to block Marine Le Pen and not because he “would make a good president”. A large part of Emmanuel Macron’s voters therefore voted for him by default, out of fear of the far right and by republican reflex, and not out of conviction. The Head of State talks a lot, in his speeches, about “responsibility” and “clarity”: his responsibility, after such an election, was to take into account this fundamental problem of legitimacy and to take a clear position on the gathering requirement that is his. In the Fifth Republic, the head of state is the president of all French people and not of some of them. By refusing this and by persisting in being only the President of a few, Emmanuel Macron is committing a political and moral fault.

Starting from the false assumption that the French have given him clear legitimacy, Emmanuel Macron recalls, in his speech, “the consistency of the project you chose last April», and evokes the need for «ambitious reforms(in other words: his neoliberal reforms which are only supported by a minority of French people). The objective of compromise comes only after these reminders: this means that the Head of State has absolutely no intention of compromising on the key elements of the main reforms he wishes to undertake in the next five years. How, under these conditions, can we imagine a positive response from the main opposition forces to this false call for union? And how can we imagine a greater gap between this speech and the message sent by the French on the occasion of the elections?

In addition to this, Emmanuel Macron concludes his speech by issuing an ultimatum to the opposition: “It is up to the political groups to say in full transparency how far they are going to go.“. There is in this posture a deep contempt for the parliamentary function, perceived as a simple tool at the service of the presidential program (which is totally contrary to the spirit of our Constitution), but also for all the French people who expressed, during of these legislative elections, anger and rejection of the Head of State by not granting him an absolute majority, by abstaining massively and by electing nearly 90 RN deputies (whose success is proportional, as we know, to the rate of discontent and anger in the country). If this closed position remains in the weeks and months to come, then we are facing a political crisis that will end at best with a complete blockage of institutions, at worst with protest movements in the streets.

Those who arrogated to themselves the monopoly of the Republic during the legislative campaign are today incapable of holding a republican discourse.

Mathieu Straw

Finally, a final word must be said about this speech, which concludes a welcome initiative to meet with the leaders of the main opposition groups (whom we must salute). Emmanuel Macron said nothing in his speech about the arrival in the hemicycle of a record number of RN deputies. Not a word about this frightening surge of the extreme right, about the causes of this surge and about the dangers it represents for our democracy. This silence questions, and raises the question of the true intentions of the head of state vis-à-vis the opposition RN. In recent days, several personalities of the majority, such as Éric Dupond-Moretti or Céline Calvez, have indicated that they see no disadvantages in working with the RN in the context of parliamentary work. François Bayrou questioned, during a televised debate, the idea that the RN would be on the far right. And Éric Woerth, member of the majority and defector from the Republicans, implied that he preferred to “give” the finance commission to the RN rather than to Nupes. As for the Minister of Relations with Parliament Olivier Véran, he established an equivalence between the RN and the Nupes (considering that both were outside the Republican field), thus relativizing the specific danger that the far right represents for our Republic.

Let’s think about it: those who arrogated to themselves the monopoly of the Republic during the legislative campaign are today incapable of holding a republican discourse. Here we must salute Clément Beaune, who was one of the few within the majority assert that there was no possible compromise or work with the extreme right. We would like the exemplary clarity of his position to be shared by his entire movement. For the moment; This is not the case.

A recent Elabe poll indicated that 71% of French people were satisfied that there was no absolute majority in the National Assembly. The message is therefore clear: stop the vertical method of Emmanuel Macron, stop the excesses of presidentialism and republican monarchism, stop the refusal of compromise and contempt for opposition. The French want a democracy that works again, a Parliament that has its say, opposition that is listened to. Through his speech, the Head of State unfortunately showed that he had understood nothing of this message.




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