Macron names right-winger French Prime Minister

Macron in the French presidential palace, cartoon

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today, about France:

Emmanuel Macron has in his first act as president appointed Édouard Philippe as prime minister. Philippe is a member of the center-right Les Republicains, the party of former president Sarkozy.

Philippe is 46 years old, mayor of Le Havre and MP. Choosing Philippe, … Macron apparently wants to ensure support from the center-right part of the political spectrum.

Macron must get a majority in the parliamentary elections of 11 and 18 June. If he does not succeed, then his space for manoeuvring will be greatly reduced in the next five years. His party En Marche! is not yet represented in parliament.

Philippe’s appointment was announced on the steps of the Élysée palace by Macron’s chief executive officer Alexis Kohler. Philippe was hardly known, also not in France.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Emmanuel Macron inaugurated as president of France

15 May 2017

Yesterday, a week after his victory in the runoff against neo-fascist candidate Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron was inaugurated as president of France in the Elysée palace.

As he takes office, the program of France’s eighth president since World War II already faces the opposition of the vast majority of the French people. Sixty-one percent of the population says it wants to deny him the majority in the National Assembly he would need to carry out his program of militarization and imposing deep social austerity by decree, based on the previous Socialist Party (PS) government’s labor law. His reactionary program has no democratic legitimacy.

The atmosphere of yesterday’s ceremony resembled more that of the coronation of a monarch than of the entry into office of an elected magistrate. With the financial aristocracy hoping to use Macron and France’s perpetually renewed state of emergency to ram through its policies and crush social protest, the new president and the media were seized by the militarist and monarchist hysteria that is rapidly spreading in the ruling elite.

Macron arrived at the Elysée in an ACMAT military truck that stopped on the Champs-Elysées at the location where an Islamist murdered policeman Xavier Jugelé on April 20, three days before the first round of the presidential elections. This bow to the armed services, and Macron’s actions when he stopped on the Champs-Elysées, provoked boundless and absurd enthusiasm in the media.

“People came up to him and sought refuge in his arms. In another epoch, the kings touched their subjects suffering from scrofula [because of medieval superstition that French, and English, kings had paranormal healing powers] after their coronation. There is a bit of that in this,” said a TV pundit on France2, while ex-Le Monde editor Eric Fottorino explained that Macron was not made of the same stuff as ordinary men: “Steel mills make specialty metals. He is made of another metal.”

Macron then gave a speech directed entirely to the banks, the army and the intelligence services. “The French people chose hope and the spirit of conquest on May 7,” he began, proceeding to sketch an imperialist foreign policy whose megalomania rivals that of the colonialists of 19th century France. “We have an immense role,” Macron explained, “to correct all the excesses of the ways of the world. That is our calling.”

He said France needs a European Union that is “more efficient, more democratic, more political because it is the instrument of our power and sovereignty. I will work on this.”

After hinting at the vast economic and geostrategic appetites of French imperialism, Macron said that France “has doubts about itself” and feels “threatened.” The solution he proposed was radical free market shock therapy—“work will be deregulated, enterprises will be supported, initiative will be encouraged”—together with the incitement of the law-and-order hysteria stoked up by Macron’s PS predecessor, François Hollande.

“Everything that makes France a safe country, where one can live without fear, will be built upon,” he said. “Republican secularism will be defended, our police forces, our intelligence agencies, and our armies will be reinforced and supported.”

The media were overjoyed at this banal declaration by an ex-Rothschild banker that he intends to continue and intensify Hollande’s unpopular policies of war and austerity. “He wants to cut to the chase,” enthused BFM-TV editorialist Ruth Elkrief, who praised Macron’s “will to make things different.”

Another journalist of the 24-hour news channel could not restrain his enthusiasm: “We will all remember this spectacular image of Emmanuel Macron on a military vehicle.”

This type of militarist delirium is the product of a bankrupt social order. After decades of austerity, the capitalist class has nothing to offer to the workers and feels surrounded on all sides by crises for which it has no solution. The “Republican salute” Macron gave to Le Pen, the political descendant of the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime, in his victory speech on election night reveals not only the frame of mind of French ruling circles, but the type of police state regime Macron intends to set up.

If journalists put forth visions of Macron as a king miraculously curing France of scrofula, it is because the ruling class knows it has no solution to the social crisis and is itself desperately looking for some sort of miracle that will make Hollande’s right-wing, free-market agenda popular.

The election of Macron—Hollande’s former economy minister, who never won elected office before becoming president of France—cannot, however, overcome the crisis of capitalism. It will solve nothing. By extending Hollande’s discredited policy agenda, which only intensified war, unemployment and the refugee crisis, the French and European bourgeoisie will only intensify under Macron the crises they could not resolve under Hollande.

Macron is flying to Berlin today to deal with the explosive conflicts over financial policy that are tearing apart the euro zone, and, in particular, its Franco-German axis. After naming his prime minister today and the ministerial cabinet tomorrow, Macron will travel at the end of the week to Mali, a country devastated by a neocolonial war launched by Hollande in the aftermath of NATO’s imperialist war in Libya in 2011.

Macron named Philippe Etienne, a former French ambassador to Germany and then Russia, to the influential position of the Elysée’s diplomatic councilor. This underscores the importance for Paris of the European crisis where, as Hollande admitted after NATO’s decision to topple a pro-Russian government in Ukraine with a fascist putsch, there is the danger of “total war” with Russia, the world’s second-largest nuclear power. However, Macron is proposing a major military escalation, increasing military spending to 2 percent of GDP and bringing back the draft.

What will emerge in France and internationally is a collision of revolutionary dimensions between the working class and a ruling elite set on a policy of war and dictatorship. Four million voters in France spoiled their ballots or submitted blank ballots out of opposition to both candidates, and 70 percent of the population opposed the PS’s labor law when it was rammed through last year in the face of mass protests.

The day after his inauguration at the Elysée palace, French President Emmanuel Macron chose a right-wing graduate of the elite National Administration School (ENA) as prime minister, before flying to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel: here.

Yesterday afternoon, newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron suddenly delayed the announcement of his initial ministerial cabinet, which will be subject to parliamentary approval after the June 11 and 18 legislative elections. The cabinet is to be announced today at 3 p.m. Paris time, with a delay of 24 hours, after verification of future ministers’ tax status and potential conflicts of interest: here.


31 thoughts on “Macron names right-winger French Prime Minister

  1. Tuesday 16th May 2017

    posted by Morning Star in World

    NEW French President Emmanuel Macron named conservative Republicans party MP Edouard Philippe as prime minister yesterday ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Mr Macron, a former finance minister under Socialist president Francois Hollande, then flew to Berlin to meet Ms Merkel.

    Asked if she would tell him to impose further labour “reforms,” Ms Merkel pleaded: “I am the last person who is going to come and say what France has to do.”

    Left-wing France Unbowed alliance leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said: “The right has just been annexed, with a prime minister taken from its ranks, from the Republicans.

    “Don’t give full powers to Mr Macron and his prime minister,” he warned.

    Short-lived Socialist caretaker PM Bernard Cazeneuve rolled out the red carpet for his successor.


  2. Tuesday 16th May 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    ALL pretence that Emmanuel Macron represents a new exciting direction in French politics must end following his appointment as prime minister of Edouard Philippe of the conservative Republicans party.

    The president, who was recruited by outgoing Socialist Party (PS) president Francois Hollande to direct measures to smash job security and undermine workers’ living standards, is redrawing the political party map.

    Macron intends to use government decrees to drive through his anti-working-class programme, as Hollande’s prime minister Manuel Valls did with the El Khomri labour law.

    The project of his fledgling Republic on the Move party is to absorb PS and the Republican neoliberals, having already co-opted Francois Bayrou’s Democratic Movement (MoDem) during his presidential challenge, and to present the amalgamation of these discredited outfits as a party of the future.

    Combative trade unions and the readiness of workers and students to take to the streets have frequently obstructed ruling class offensives to undermine the social gains won by working people in the aftermath of the liberation from nazi German occupation.

    Macron is not a neoliberal superman, but he is backed by the duopoly of Establishment political formations that have dominated the republic for the past 35 years and he can rely on corporate finance.

    It is noteworthy that, while his general secretary Alexis Kohler announced the identity of Macron’s prime minister, the president himself went to Berlin to discuss the renewal of Franco-German links to plan the way forward for the European Union.

    His five-point plan would take EU integration and centralisation a step forward, including in the military sphere, and would enhance the concept of Fortress Europe, with a further 5,000 frontier guards in Greece, Italy and other countries regarded as having too porous borders.

    Setting up a European asylum agency to co-ordinate treatment of asylum-seekers and immigrants would further centralise responsibilities in this area.

    Macron’s rhetoric about the need to harmonise EU member states’ tax policies to end “social dumping,” where transnational corporations decamp to lower-pay, lower-tax economies, carries the unspoken proviso that this would bring a huge reduction in French corporate taxation and, as a result, public spending.

    It is the flip side of his commitment, shared by his Republican, PS and MoDem accomplices, to a neoliberal agenda for France and, in accord with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, across the entire EU.

    Merkel imposed that programme on the German labour force, ensuring that workers went 14 years without a real-terms pay increase.

    Macron’s proposal of a eurozone finance minister and a shared budget is portrayed as a mechanism for joint investment in member states but can better be read as facilitating central control of governments seen as straying in the wrong direction.

    The new president’s direction of travel is clearly visible, but it is not inviolable.

    Macron’s mishmash of neoliberal zealots from a handful of parties has not yet won a majority in the National Assembly. The duty of left forces is to take action to prevent it from doing so.

    Had the Socialist Party’s left-of-centre presidential hopeful Benoit Hamon and those of far-left groups stood down in favour of Jean-Luc Melenchon in the presidential first round, the France Unbowed candidate would certainly have made the final against Macron.

    Nothing should stand in the way, even at this late stage, of maximising left forces’ success in next month’s general election first round to weaken the positions of both the neoliberal and far-right camps.


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  4. Thursday 18th May 2017

    posted by Morning Star in World

    FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron named his cabinet yesterday — drawn from the unpopular former Socialist government and the conservative Republicans party.

    Jean-Yves Le Drian, defence minister under Francois Hollande, becomes foreign minister.

    Lyon Mayor Gerard Collomb, who defected from the Socialists to Mr Macron’s Republic on the March group, will be interior minister.

    Republican Bruno Le Maire was named as finance minister, the post Mr Macron held under Mr Hollande and from which he directed attacks on workers’ rights.

    The new defence minster will be MEP Sylvie Goulard, who joined Mr Macron’s new party last year.


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