French President Emmanuel Macron must “legislate in a different way” based on compromises between various political forces, three days after suffering a major political blow when his party lost its parliamentary majority.
Mr Macron spoke in a nationally televised speech after two days of back-to-back meetings with rival party leaders, in a bid to show he is open to dialogue.
But these rivals seemed determined to remain opposed to Mr Macron and unwilling to cooperate with him. Mr. Macron was re-elected as president in April.
“We must collectively learn to govern and legislate differently,” Macron said in his televised address, proposing to “build new compromises with the political movements that make up the new assembly.”
“It should not mean a (political) status quo. It must mean agreements,” he added.
It was his first public comments after his centrist Together alliance won the most seats – 245 – but still fell 44 lawmakers short of securing a majority in France’s most powerful parliament.
His government retains the ability to govern, but only by negotiating with legislators.
The main opposition force is the left-wing Nupes coalition created by left-wing extremist Jean-Luc Melenchon, with 131 seats.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen made a grand entrance on Wednesday at the National Assembly with dozens of deputies from her National Rally party, which won a historic score of 89 seats.
Such a political situation is very unusual in France.
Mr Macron said the composition of the National Assembly echoed “fractures, deep divisions across our country”.
“I believe it is possible… to find a larger and clearer majority to act,” he said.
He went on to list a series of measures included in his own policy platform, suggesting he has no intention of drastically changing his policy.
His campaign promises include measures to increase purchasing power, tax cuts and raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65.
Mr Macron urged political parties to say within the next two days whether they would be ready to form a government coalition or commit to passing certain bills on a case-by-case basis.
Leaders of the main parties, including the leftist coalition, the conservatives and the far right, have already suggested that a coalition government is not an option.
Mr Macron dismissed the idea of a “national union” that would include all political forces in government as “unjustified to date”.
The president retains control of foreign policy. Mr Macron will travel to a series of world summits on Thursday that are expected to focus on the war in Ukraine.