Macron draws alliance to race on local elections

Photo: EPA Emmanuel Macron

France’s ruling La Republique en Marche (LREM) announced plans to join forces with the conservative Les Republicens (LR) in a bid to win upcoming local elections, Reuters reported. The move comes as the ruling party showed not enough strength to win on its own. LREM of President Emmanuel Macron will be in alliance with LR in the race for the regional vote in June in the southern Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, government sources elaborated.

Following a year after Macron’s LREM party was seriously shaken in municipal elections, the alliance shows a potential within the ruling party that it is too weak and unpopular to win some regions on its own. Junior Minister Sophie Cluzel, the LREM's regional candidate, will thus run on same ticket led by Les Republicains' Renaud Muselier, president of the regional assembly.

Prime Minister Jean Castex told Le Journal du Dimanche that Muselier had proposed the alliance, to which Macron's party had responded "very positively". Muselier's will be facing the far-right Rassemblement National party, which in 2015 garnered 45% of the votes in the previous regional elections. However, some conservatives are unhappy with the alliance. Macron has methodically weakened their party since he took power in 2017 by poaching many of its members for positions in government.

The head of Les Republicains party Christian Jacob said on Twitter that his party was withdrawing its backing for Muselier's candidacy, criticising him and Castex for what he called political "manoeuvres". The Republicains have yet to agree on a candidate for the presidential election next year, and some fear such local alliances with the LREM will further weaken their credibility as an alternative to Macron. The first round of the regional elections will be held on 20 June, with the second round due on 27 June.

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