A radical left will chair the finance committee of the French Parliament
French MPs have chosen Éric Coquerel, a radical leftist who calls himself an opponent of neoliberalism and capitalism, to chair the National Assembly’s crucial finance committee, heralding unrest in parliament for President Emmanuel Macron’s minority government.
Thursday’s elevation of Coquerel – a deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris for Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s red-green alliance, the New People’s Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) – came after Nupes became the largest group in parliament in opposition to Macron’s coalition government of centrist parties. Assembly rules state that the Finance Committee must be chaired by an opposition MP.
French conservatives have expressed concern about what Coquerel will do with the committee, which reviews national budgets and other financial legislation and has access to confidential tax information, given its hostility to free markets and big business. and Nupes’ campaign promise to massively increase public spending.
The Macron government should, however, be able to control the budget and pass financial legislation with the support of the centre-right Les Républicains.
The president won a second term in April by defeating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen but his alliance lost its majority in the Assembly in June’s legislative elections.
Coquerel, a former Revolutionary Communist League activist who was already a member of the Assembly’s outgoing finance committee, said he would abide by democratic rules.
“Nupes rejects neo-capitalism,” he said. told French magazine Marianne before the vote. “I represent a real opposition to the system, and the end of [Margaret] Thatcher “There is no alternative”. But that doesn’t mean we won’t play the democratic game.
With the first minority government in over 30 years, French politics is entering a period of political horse-trading and compromise unfamiliar to Macron and his supporters, who have had full control of the National Assembly as well as the Élysée Palace for five years. year.
On Thursday, Macron acknowledged the need for compromise when asked what he was going to do after two months of political drift in France. He said the government would continue to make decisions to help people cope with the rising cost of living and a health sector crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If it is urgent to act, it is also normal that such actions take into account the choices of our compatriots and take place in the right order,” Macron said in Madrid after a NATO summit.
Elisabeth Borne, Macron’s prime minister, will present the government’s program to the Assembly and the Senate on Wednesday, although it is not yet clear whether it will receive a vote of confidence.
The first two bills to be presented to parliament – on measures to help people cope with inflation and curb the pandemic – are not expected to be particularly controversial, but Macron is expected to face opposition about of any pension reform legislation which was one of the main lines of his manifesto.
Macron and Republican leaders have pushed for an increase in the official retirement age from 62 to 65 to reduce the cost of the public pension system, but the idea is opposed on the far right by Le Pen and the extreme left. by Melenchon.