France's National Assembly: "We have to find a new way of working" - Bark Sedov
France’s National Assembly: “We have to find a new way of working”

France’s National Assembly: “We have to find a new way of working”

France’s National Assembly: “We have to find a new way of working”

Status: 06/28/2022 04:29 am

The newly elected French National Assembly meets for the first time today. By the end of the week there will be a government-forming roadmap. But many new MPs have to find their place first – and they hardly come together in party politics.

By Julia Borutta, ARD Studio Paris

The mood among the newly elected members of the extreme right-wing Rassemblement National is tense. A few days before today’s first session of the new legislature, they celebrated their triumphant entry into Parliament with a class photo in the magnificent courtyard of the National Assembly – followed by their first close contact with the hemicycle, the semicircle, as Parliament is reverently called. For almost 40 years, the right-wing nationalists have not been represented here in fraction strength.

Julia Borutta

Philippe Lottiaux won the constituency around Saint-Tropez against a candidate from the presidential majority. He is one of the many newcomers to the 89 MPs in the Rassemblement National. The party has increased the number of its seats more than tenfold. Enthusiastically, Lottiaux inspects the contents of the welcome gift he received on this administrative briefing day: a high quality leather briefcase made in France. “There’s a kind of parliament leader in there, and here in this box is the famous deputy scarf in the tricolor colors. I still have to figure out how to wear it, but there are instructions,” he says. “Then the badge for the car. Almost feels like Christmas!”

Working with Opportunity Majorities?

Gerald Darmanin scurries past behind Lottiaux. The mission-conscious Minister of the Interior and confidant of Emmanuel Macron has no desire to chat with journalists that day. The mood in the presidential camp after the loss of the absolute majority is too pitiful and unsettled. The National Assembly, broken up into three strong blocs – a kind of parliamentary accident of the Fifth Republic, which was so presidentially oriented.

“Of course, this new national assembly will work differently than before,” explains Arthur Delaporte. The 30-year-old socialist from Calvados has won his seat for the left-wing alliance NUPES. The parliamentary newcomer unerringly heads for the hungry microphones of the journalists. “I’m exactly in favor of this parliamentarization of our system. We have to find a new way of working,” he says. “We can also orientate ourselves on the German model. But I absolutely refuse to form occasional majorities with the extreme right.”

Macron’s “terribly banal” situation

Laure Lavalette from the Rassemblement National finds that narrow-minded. “Our only compass is the interest of France and the French,” she says. “If a law goes in the right direction, we are not dogmatic.”

When it comes to immigration, however, things will get heated, Lavalette sees that coming – and takes a stand again: “We are against family reunification, in favor of preferential treatment for the French when it comes to jobs and housing. Marine Le Pen wants to give the French their land and their money back .”

So while paths from left and right cross in the corridors of the National Assembly on this day, the fronts remain hardened. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron is counting on the system’s ability to learn and, despite everything, hopes to be able to build constructive majorities. Referring to the German virtue of building coalitions and building compromises, he called his situation “terribly banal.”

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