French President elect to open talks with willing conservatives

French President elect Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery and to pay tribute to the victims of the slave trade at the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris, France, May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool

Centrist French President elect Emmanuel Macron is open to talks with willing members of the main conservative grouping, a top aide said on Friday a day after his start-up party included a group of Socialists among his parliamentary election candidates.

Macron, until last year economy minister in the outgoing Socialist administration, has blown apart the traditional political boundaries of French politics by winning the presidential election last Sunday under the banner of his own one-year-old Republic on the Move (REM) party.

On Thursday, he named 428 people – around half of whom had never held elected office before – to stand in the coming parliamentary elections for REM in France’s 577 constituencies.

“There is a group among The Republicans (France’s conservatives) … saying ‘we want to be useful to the country, but we do not want to ‘Macronise’ ourselves’, Macron’s head of candidate selection Arnaud Leroy said on BFM TV, naming a number of leading figures among The Republicans.

“We, being responsible people, are open to discussions. I am not closing any doors,” he said.

But he added an attack on a party which, of all the traditional groupings, polls show poses the biggest threat to Macron’s hopes of forming a parliamentary majority.

“There are those who want to stop us, who are ready to do anything,” he said.

The publication of Macron’s candidate list produced the first sign of tension within camp since he was elected. On Sunday, the 39-year-old Macron took 65 percent of the vote to defeat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in a run-off.



Zainab Sa’aid