Unions call for strikes to pressure Macron over leftist coalition government

The new legislature’s inaugural session is scheduled for July 18.

French President Emmanuel Macron (Aurelien Morissard/AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron (Aurelien Morissard/AP) (Aurelien Morissard/AP)

With just 15 days before the start of the Olympic Games in Paris, a leader of a major French union has called for mass strikes to pressure President Emmanuel Macron into “respecting the results” of recent legislative elections and allow a leftist coalition to form a new government.

France has been at the brink of a governing paralysis since Sunday’s vote for the National Assembly, the influential lower house of parliament, resulted in a legislature split between three political groupings: the New Popular Front leftist coalition, Mr Macron’s centrist allies and the far-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen.

The New Popular Front alliance won the most seats in the legislature, but fell short of an outright majority to govern on its own.

The alliance’s three main parties, the hard-left France Unbowed, the Socialists and the Greens, have urged the president to turn to them to form the new government.

CGT union secretary general Sophie Binet (Thibault Camus/AP)
CGT union secretary general Sophie Binet (Thibault Camus/AP) (Thibault Camus/AP)

Sophie Binet, the general secretary of the CGT union, said in an interview with broadcaster France Inter that if Mr Macron did not respect the results of the election, “he risks once again plunging the country into chaos”.

Ms Binet said the president should allow the New Popular Front to form the new government, although the leftists alliance has not yet proposed a candidate for prime minister because of internal divisions.

She called on union members to take to the streets and “join rallies to put the National Assembly under surveillance”.

“There must be popular, citizens’ pressure so that the elections’ results are respected,” Ms Binet said.

Mr Macron has asked his prime minister, Gabriel Attal, to continue handling day-to-day affairs, despite Mr Attal’s offer of resignation.

On Wednesday, Mr Macron said he will wait for the country’s political parties to build a “Republican” majority at the National Assembly before he can decide on a new prime minister, infuriating the leftist coalition and the unions.

The new legislature’s inaugural session is scheduled for July 18.