France’s Macron inaugurated for second presidential term

Emmanuel Macron (right) is presented the great necklace of France's National Order of the Legion of Honour on May 7, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris on May 7 to attend his investiture ceremony as French President. PHOTO: AFP
French President Macron reviews the troops during his swearing-in ceremony for a second term, on May 7, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - France's re-elected President Emmanuel Macron was on Saturday (May 7) inaugurated for a second five-year term set to be shadowed by immense challenges both at home and abroad.

In a ceremony at the Elysee Palace, Mr Macron was confirmed by Constitutional Council chief Laurent Fabius as the winner of April presidential elections and then signed the formal re-investiture document.

Mr Macron's new five year mandate does not start immediately but only when his first one formally expires at midnight on May 13.

He is the first French head of state for 20 years to win a second mandate.

Mr Macron faces a daunting agenda of implementing the reforms he vowed when he came to power as France's youngest-ever president in 2017, as well as dealing with the Russian assault against Ukraine.

Mr Macron won a second round of presidential polls on April 24 with a score of 58.55 per cent against far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

In a short speech, he spoke of the need to innovate at a time of unprecedented challenges for the world and for France, and said his second term would be “new” and not merely a continuation of the first.

“We need to invent a new method together, far from tired traditions and routines, with which we can build a new productive, social and ecological contract,” he said, promising to act with “respect” and “consideration”.

Among the 500 guests present were former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime ministers Edouard Philippe, Manuel Valls, Alain Juppe and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, as well as religious leaders and other state figures.

Mr Macron will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on for “Europe Day” on Monday.

Later in the week, for the first trip abroad since his inauguration, he heads to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Meanwhile, France is gearing up for legislative polls in June.

Mr Macron is expected to name a new premier in place of incumbent Jean Castex to lead a revamped government into the elections, but not until his second term officially kicks off.

He has mooted naming a female politician with a focus on social responsibility - although reports have indicated that overtures to leftist figures, such as former official Veronique Bedague and Socialist parliamentary group chief Valerie Rabault, have been rebuffed.

French President Macron stands as he reviews the troops at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 7, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

"If there was a obvious solution for the Matignon (the residence of the prime minister) it would have been announced long ago," a source close to Mr Macron, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Meanwhile, the Socialist Party along with the Greens and Communists, is forming an unprecedented alliance for the parliamentary elections with the hard left France Unbowed (LFI) party of Mr Jean-Luc Melenchon.

He was by far the best performing left-wing candidate in the first round of presidential elections and is spearheading efforts to form a broad bloc and mount a convincing challenge to Mr Macron.

Pro-Macron factions have regrouped under the banner of Ensemble (Together) while his own Republic on the Move party, which has struggled to create a grass-roots base, is renaming itself Renaissance.

The 44-year-old president is set to keep playing a leading role in efforts to stop Russia's war against Ukraine, while he carries an immense burden of expectation as a leader on the European stage with Germany still finding its footing in the post-Angela Merkel era.

On the domestic front, he must deal with the crisis over the rising cost of living and also brace for possible protests when he finally tackles his cherished pension reform, raising France's retirement age.

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