Explained: Macron is back as French President — what happens now?

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After winning another five years in the French presidential palace on Sunday, Emmanuel Macron intends to go back to work straight away on domestic and foreign policy. However, he will soon face crucial parliamentary elections, where he may struggle to keep his majority.

Here’s what comes next for President Macron and his leadership of France.

The inauguration will happen by May 13

France’s Constitutional Council will publish the official results of the presidential election (in which Macron convincingly defeated his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen) on Wednesday (April 27). On the same day, Macron will hold a meeting of his Cabinet.

The President will then have to set a date for the inauguration ceremony, which must be held by May 13, at the Élysée Palace, the official residence of the head of the French government. He will receive the National Guards’ honours and make a speech.

Usually, 21 cannon shots are fired to mark the inauguration, but Presidents François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac both skipped that tradition after they were re-elected in 1988 and 2002 respectively. Macron is the only other leader of modern France to win a second presidential term.

The President will reach out first to Germany

Like five years ago, Macron plans to quickly head to Berlin, in line with the tradition of newly elected French Presidents making his first trip abroad to neighbouring Germany to celebrate the countries’ friendship after multiple wars. He will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and on top of the two leaders’ agenda will be to discuss efforts to end the war in Ukraine.

Macron may also travel to Kyiv at some point to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Macron spoke to both Zelenskyy and Scholz within hours of his victory. But he has said that he would travel to Kyiv only on condition that it would have “a useful impact”.

On May 9, Macron is expected to make a speech on Europe in Strasbourg in northeastern France, the seat of the EU parliament.

With regard to domestic policy, Macron has said that one of his priorities would be to pass by summer a special law to support purchasing power amid the surge in food and energy prices fed by the war in Ukraine.

The parliamentary elections will occupy him

Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to submit his government’s resignation in the coming days. Macron will then appoint a new caretaker government, but ministers will only be in place for a few weeks.

Nationwide parliamentary elections, scheduled in two rounds on June 12 and 19, will decide who controls a majority of the 577 seats in the National Assembly. If Macron’s party, La République En Marche! (LREM) gets a majority, he will name a new government accordingly and will be able to pass laws smoothly.

But if another party gets a majority of seats, he will be forced to appoint a Prime Minister belonging to that new majority. In such a situation, which is called “cohabitation” in France, the government would implement policies that diverge from Macron’s project. As President though, Macron will have sway over France’s foreign policy.

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