President Macron can pick whoever he wants as prime minister, but it is customary to name someone from the winning party in the June MPs’ elections – and the leader of far-left party La France Insoumise wants to force his hand.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the MP for Bouches-du-Rhône since 2017, has called on left-leaning electors to vote for his party in the élections législatives in an attempt to be the largest party.
Mr Mélenchon, who has called Mr Macron the “worst elected president of the Fifth Republic”, has won increasing support over the years.
Solid results in presidential races
In the 2012 presidential first round, he won 11%; in 2017, he increased this to 18%; and this year, he polled 22% – just 1% less than Marine Le Pen, who got into the second round with 23.1%.
He is keen to make the most of the results, said political analyst Luc Gras.
“Obviously, he wants to position himself as a possible prime minister, but he’s dreaming. The president appoints the prime minister, usually from the political bloc with the most MPs. He or she is not directly elected.”
Political analyst Jean Viard said: “It is unlikely La France Insoumise will get a majority of MPs in the house because their supporters are very concentrated in just a few urban areas.”
Macron has adopted some ideas
Mr Mélenchon has already had at least some effect on Mr Macron’s policies.
To woo his voters, he has adopted some of his policies: promising to cap excessive pay rises for CEOs, strengthening his environmental policy, and using Mr Mélenchon’s planification écologique idea to put the prime minister in charge of piloting measures for the environment.
Aimed at putting ecological change at the heart of government, this would cover energy, investments, finance, construction, planning, transport, biodiversity, agriculture, food supplies, and management of water and forests.
However, Mr Mélenchon might have to be content with that for now.
Internal divisions for Macron’s party
“Having elected Macron president, it is probable that people will confirm their choice by electing his MPs to the house in June,” said Mr Gras.
“That may well pose its own problems. The collapse of Les Républicains and Le Parti Socialiste, along with the subsequent leaching of their MPs towards LREM, could leave Mr Macron without an effective opposition.
“If this should happen, as is looking probable, LREM could find itself riven by internal divisions, which would severely weaken it and prevent decisive government.”