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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Macron victory in France – what happens next?

Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected for a second term as French president, projected results show - so once the celebrations and (in the Le Pen camp) tears are over, what happens next in France?

Macron victory in France - what happens next?
Supporters react after the victory of French President and La Republique en Marche (LREM) party candidate for re-election Emmanuel Macron in France's presidential election, at the Champ de Mars, in Paris, on April 24, 2022. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

The projection based on projected results at 8pm indicated that Emmanuel Macron has won the second round.

The final result will be released by the Interior Ministry on Monday morning, but the initial projection – which is extrapolated from the first 100, 200 or 400 votes cast at polling stations which are specially selected to represent different demographics, geographical areas and political strongholds – are generally very accurate.

READ ALSO How does France produce such early election results?

The rest of the evening will be given over to victory speeches, concession speeches, much political analysis and – in the two candidates’ camps – probably quite a lot of drinking to either celebrate victory or drown sorrows.

But once Monday morning dawns we get back to serious politics and a momentous few days.

What happens this week?

On Wednesday Laurent Fabius, head of the Constitutional Council, will proclaim the official results.

The Interior Ministry’s count released on Monday is the de facto result, but over the next two days the Constitutional Council verifies the vote, reads the reports of its delegates and deals with any disputes that have arisen. In the first round, for example, a total of 10,216 votes were cancelled due to irregularities at polling stations.

Winners can and do make decisions and changes before the official result is announced, however.

As the incumbent, Macron stays in the Elysée and carries on governing, there is no transition period, although there will be an inauguration which will have to take place by May 14th, when his current term ends.

We do already know, however, that Prime Minister Jean Castex will resign and dissolve the government.

This is pretty standard and allows Macron to reshuffle his government ahead of the parliamentary elections in June.

Some of his ministers will probably stay in position, but others will move jobs and Macron will also be able to bring in people from the outside. There’s been some discussion about whether he might appoint Christine Lagarde – head of the European Central Bank and a former French finance minister under Nicolas Sarkozy – as his Prime Minister. 

The resignation will happen some time this week, according to (current) government spokesman Gabriel Attal, and the new government will be announced shortly afterwards.

Then what happens?

But even after the government is announced it’s not all over. We then move into campaigning for the parliamentary elections (législatives). 

Again there’s two rounds of voting, this time with just a week between them on June 12th and 19th.

In these elections the French get to elect their local representative, known as a député, which is roughly equivalent to an MP in the UK. They sit in the Assemblée nationale, the lower house of parliament in France.

They’re crucial to the president, because any laws that they wishe to pass have to be debated and approved in the Assemblée nationale, so if you don’t have a majority of supporters in the parliament you may be pretty limited in what you can do.

New laws also move through the French Senate, but in the event of a dispute between the Senate and the Assemblée nationale it’s the Assemblée nationale which has the final say. 

There are several mechanisms in the French political structure that allow laws to bypass parliament – there’s something called Article 49.3 that can be used to push blocked laws through parliament – Macron used that to push through his controversial pension reforms in 2020 – and there’s also the option of putting potential laws to a referendum.

A referendum means that – if the country votes in favour – you can skip steps like a review from the Constitutional Council. Le Pen said that she would use this mechanism to force through changes like a ban on the Muslim headscarf and discrimination against non-French citizens for jobs and benefits, which the Council would be likely to rule unconstitutional.

But even with these mechanisms, a president who doesn’t have a majority in parliament is going to have a tough time, so it will be an important campaign.  

Once parliamentary elections are out of the way we’re nearly into les grandes vacances, so we can all take a well-earned break from politics and head for the beach.

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POLITICS

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.

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