Paris – Despite his sweeping victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, elected French president Emmanuel Macron’s job will not be easy, the way carved to the Élysée Palace is not a bed of roses.
After the excitement of winning simmers, Macron’s task on overcoming two challenges needs to be swiftly attended– first, the President-elect has to form a cohesive cabinet that reflects his campaign promises on renovating French political life.
In order to establish a strong administration, Macron needs to bypass right wing and left wing polarization, open up to civil society and uphold principles of gender equality.
Second of all, Macron needs to secure a parliamentary majority to support his policy-making and help him follow through on his vision for France. Achieving the second goal requires the preparation of a list of candidates for the legislative elections scheduled for June 11 and 18.
There is a wide-held consensus that Macron’s victory will not be complete without it “blowing” out the traditional major parties within government walls. Moving past bi-polarization means practically reshaping the French political scene and repositioning politicians on both sides.
The presidential election left France’s traditional parties on the sidelines, with the conservative Republicans and ruling Socialists eliminated in the first round, and Macron facing Le Pen in last week’s run off.
Macron has said half of the candidates for his year-old Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move) for the 577 seats up for grabs in June 11-18 elections will be new to politics.
So far the names of only 14 candidates are known, but on Thursday afternoon “around 450” will be revealed, Jean-Paul Delevoye of Republic on the Move said.
The party has received and filtered through some 15,000 applications submitted online since 19 January, a representative of the movement said.
This week former prime minister Manuel Valls shocked his Socialist party by saying it was “dead” and announcing he wanted to be a candidate under Macron’s banner.
But an official said Wednesday that Valls had not yet fulfilled the criteria to be a candidate.
The Republicans party, whose candidate Francois Fillon crashed out in the first round of the presidential election after being charged over giving his wife allegedly “fake” jobs on the public payroll, is also aiming to become the majority party in parliament.
That would force Macron, who will be inaugurated on Sunday, to share power with them in what is known as a “cohabitation” in France.
A poll showed that only 52 percent of voters want a pro-Macron government to emerge from the elections, while 42 percent favored a legislature that would be a check on the new leader.
Optimism seemed muted too, with 55 percent of respondents to the Elabe survey saying they thought Macron would “not improve things for the French people”.