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FRENCH POLITICS

Cannons, ex presidents and Nobel Prize winners: What to expect from Macron’s Inauguration

French President Emmanuel Macron will be formally inaugurated for his second term of office on Saturday - here's what the ceremony will look like.

Cannons, ex presidents and Nobel Prize winners: What to expect from Macron's Inauguration
Emmanuel Macron waves from a military car on the Champs Elysees avenue, after his 2017 inauguration ceremony. (Photo by Michel Euler / POOL / AFP)

Macron was re-elected on April 24th with 58.55 percent of the vote and will be formally invested into into the role on Saturday. 

The inauguration ceremony, or investiture, formalises the transfer of power, and will take place in the Salle des Fêtes at the Elysée Palace on Saturday, May 7th from 11am. It will last just over an hour and a half.

Unlike many other countries, the French presidential inauguration does not include an oath of office, but it does boast a fair share of ceremonial practices.

Specifically, there will be a proclamation of the official election results by the President of the Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, then the president will be recognised as the Grand Master of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, making the start of his second term official.

In terms of invitees, 450 guests were carefully selected, and France’s only two living ex presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy will both attend. The president was also sure to invite those who represent major institutions, plus politicians, mayors and French Nobel Prize winners.

Macron will then give a speech, after which 21 cannon shots will be fired to mark the event, a tradition some re-elected presidents have skipped in the past.

He will also “review” his military, including part of the crew of the Monge – a ship based in Brest that is equipped to monitor the flights of ballistic and nuclear missiles, which is likely an allusion to the shadow the war in Ukraine has cast over Macron’s second term.The ceremony will end with flags and the a rendition of the Marseillaise. 

Normally, the newly-elected president would then be received at the Paris town hall and drive up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, a custom Macron observed in 2017. This year, however, the bulk of the ceremony will take place at the Elysée Palace.

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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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