PARIS – President Emmanuel Macron faces the loss of his party’s majority in the French parliament with the defection of about ten left-wing members who say he has broken his centrist promises and is running a “conservative government”. Macron’s party, La République En Marche (LREM), has lost its absolute majority in the French National Assembly, The Times reported.
Ten MPs deserted Macron’s party and instead joined the independent group, Ecology Democracy Solidarity. The MPs that quit his party, which Macron formed in 2016, accused the French president of breaking his centrist promises and argue Macron is running a “conservative government”.
The loss of the 10 MPs means Macron has lost the majority in the National Assembly, which he has held since 2017. From 295 members, the LREM group goes down to 285 – four less than the absolute majority, fixed at 289 seats. Ministers have hit out at the defectors, and say they are defying Macron’s appeals for national unity during the coronavirus crisis.
Bruno Le Maire, the Finance Minister, stated, “I regret that some people want to reopen the left-right divisions that we and the French people wanted to put behind us in 2017.”
The defection is another major blow to Macron’s presidency, which has been marred by strikes and demonstrations by the Yellow Vest protestors.
At the beginning of the year, thousands of people protested the president’s overhaul to the national pension system. The proposals triggered a wave of strikes and demonstrations across France over several weeks. But the health crisis led Macron to suspend the measures, while his government focused on tackling the deadly virus.
His current approval ratings are fairly dismal, with only 35 percent approving the government’s performance. In mid-May, around 250 people demonstrated against police brutality in France, on the first day the country eased its lockdown measures. Days later, the Yellow Vest movement also remerged in several cities, including Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Lyon.