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Chacun voit midi à sa porte: our French phrase of the week

This has no link with lunchtime food deliveries but rather something that President Macron’s government may experience in the coming days

We look at a phrase which helps to describe the situation in France’s Assemblée nationale Pic: photo.ua / Shutterstock

As President Emmanuel Macron’s government is forced to depend on debate and compromise after failing to gain an absolute majority among MPs, we look at a phrase which could describe the challenges it faces. 

President Macron’s Ensemble ! coalition needed 289 seats for an absolute majority but secured 245. 

The left-wing Nupes alliance gained 133 and the far-right Rassemblement National 89. 

Read more: Easy-look graphic: how seats in France’s new parliament are divided

Read more: Power shift in France: President Macron needs MPs to compromise

The expression ‘chacun voit midi à sa porte’ (literally: everyone sees noon at their door) refers to the idea that everyone has a different perspective on an issue, or that everyone sees their problems or concerns as being the most pressing. 

Essentially, it means that each person evaluates a situation based on their own personal criteria, which may not chime with those of the next person. 

Now that President Macron no longer has an absolute majority, his Ensemble ! coalition will need to listen more carefully to the views of other parties if opposition MPs are to vote for different parliamentary bills. 

Although the different parties all ‘voit midi à sa porte’ on policy issues, the government may need to keenly appreciate different ideological standpoints in order to get legislation through.

Another phrase which can be used to describe the current situation in the Assemblée nationale is ‘jouer d’avance’, which means that something is a foregone conclusion. 

You may say that something ‘est joué d’avance’ if it is clear what is going to happen next, or ‘ce n’est pas joué d’avance’ if the outcome cannot be predicted. 

This may be the case with some debates which take place in the Assemblée nationale over the coming months. 

Related articles 

Explainer: What is France’s Assemblée nationale and how does it work?

French language: how ‘stuffing’ is used in the kitchen and theatre

Ça crame: French phrases to describe when the weather is too hot

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