France: Hollande-Macron handover set for Sunday

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France: Hollande-Macron handover set for Sunday

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France’s next president Emmanuel Macron and the man he is replacing François Hollande have appeared together at a ceremony in Paris to commemorate the abolition of slavery.

Reuters quoted a source from the Elysée as saying the outgoing president will formally hand over power to his newly-elected successor next Sunday at 10 o’clock local time.

The winner of Sunday’s vote has been working behind the scenes on the make-up of his future government.

The former finance minister is expected to name his prime minister on Monday, and announce a new government the following day with around fifteen ministers and several more junior ministers.

Ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections several figures from the mainstream parties on right and left have indicated they are ready to work with Macron.

Macron’s team have said former Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls must join the president-elect’s party if he wants to run for parliament under its banner. On Tuesday Valls said he wanted to stand in the elections for the president-elect’s start-up party, now named “La République en marche” (The Republic on the move).

Earlier on Wednesday, François Hollande – still at the helm for now – presided over his final cabinet meeting, where ministers described an emotional farewell.

The outgoing president hinted that he would not be leaving public life behind. “Politics is the life of France, politics represents the essential choices for the country and so no-one can put themselves aside from that,” Hollande said, adding that he wanted to remain “useful”.

There was a veiled warning for Macron from the government’s main spokesman, Stéphane le Foll. While the president-elect intended to pass labour reforms via parliamentary ordonnance – a simplified process for enacting laws – Hollande had stressed the importance of social dialogue during his five-year term, le Foll said. Each time that was forgotten it risked being costly, he added.

The fallout after Sunday’s presidential run-off is continuing apace. The Socialist candidate defeated in the first round, Benoît Hamon, said he would set up a new political movement in the party after several of his campaign proposals were rejected.

Sunday’s defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has said that she “profoundly regrets” the withdrawal of her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen from politics. The 27-year-old, one of only two National Front (FN) representatives in the outgoing parliament, said on Tuesday that she would be leaving for a while for personal and political reasons.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the radical left has accused the head of the Communist Party of lying, following the breakdown of negotiations with his movement “La France insoumise” (translated variously as “unsubmissive”, “defiant” or “disobedient” France) over a potential alliance in the parliamentary vote.