Macron ‘never suggested resigning’ says French presidential office

Macron 'never suggested resigning' says French presidential office
French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: AFP
The Elysée Palace on Thursday denied claims in a media report that French President Emmanuel Macron was planning to step down to call a general election.

“We deny this report. The president never suggested he would resign,” the president's office said.

The Elysée Palace statement followed a media report in the French newspaper Le Figaro, which claimed Macron had made the shock announcement while speaking at a videoconference with party donors in London.

Citing one of the people present at the conference, which took place about two weeks ago, Le Figaro said Macron told participants that a new election would reinforce his legitimacy and destabilise his opponents.

“I'm sure to win because there's no competition,” Macron reportedly said.

Le Figaro also cited an unnamed Elysée Palace official, who said: “We're entering a phase of reflection and consultations, where everything is being considered.”

The official added that Macron's decision could come “in the coming weeks or months”.

But the Elysée Palace said the president “never took part in a videoconference with donors.”

 

Macron's party La République En Marche (LREM) lost its absolute majority in parliament last month after several MPs defected to form independent groups, a public reproach that was all the more jarring amid the government's calls for “unity” during the COVID-19 crisis.

The party is now bracing for another setback in a second round of municipal elections set for June 28th, with opinion polls showing its candidates are unlikely to capture any major city, including Paris.

The battle for Paris long looked to be a tight race between three main candidates, until LREM's Benjamin Griveaux dropped out of the race after a Russian performance artist posted intimate pictures of him online.

ANALYSIS: Does the Griveaux scandal mean it's now open season on French politicians' sex lives?

Even Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, one of the LREM's strongest personas, is facing a tough battle to regain his seat as mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre.

A cabinet reshuffle is expected to be in the works as Macron seeks fresh momentum for the final two years of his term.

The coronavirus outbreak also stalled Macron's flagship policy reforms, including the controversial pensions overhaul that sparked a mass-strikes last winter.

The president plans a televised national address on Sunday night, his fourth since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

READ ALSO: What can we expect from Macron's speech?

Another speech could be scheduled after the June 28th elections, to lay out Macron's projects through 2022, his office said Thursday.


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