PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron is to be sworn in for a new term on Saturday (May 7) after his election victory over the far right made him the first French head of state in 20 years to win a second term.
The event, which kicks off at 09:00 GMT at the Elysee Palace, marks the start of a series of key milestones as Macron embarks on a new five-year term filled with international and domestic challenges.
Macron faces an ambitious agenda of implementing the reforms he promised when he came to power as France’s youngest president in 2017, as well as dealing with the Russian onslaught on Ukraine.
The head of the Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, will read a statement confirming Macron’s victory in the second round of presidential elections on April 24 with a score of 58.55% against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Macron will then deliver a keynote speech which, according to an Elysée official, “will not be a general political speech but is part of the country’s history and will focus on the future”.
In a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, 21 cannon shots will then be fired from the Invalides military memorial to celebrate the inauguration.
Without a car on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées or a long red carpet, the ceremony will resemble the reinaugurations of François Mitterrand in 1988 and Jacques Chirac in 2002, the last French president to win a second term.
Despite the ceremony, Macron’s second term will not officially begin until the first expires at midnight on May 13.
It comes at a time of political flux following Macron’s election victory, as France prepares for the legislative elections that will soon follow in June.
Macron is expected to appoint a new prime minister in place of incumbent Jean Castex to lead a reshuffled government until elections, but not before the official start of his second term.
He has offered to appoint a female politician focused on social responsibility – although reports have said overtures to left-leaning figures, such as former official Véronique Bedague and Socialist parliamentary group leader Valérie Rabault, have been rebuffed .
“If there was an obvious solution for the Matignon (the prime minister’s residence), it would have been announced a long time ago,” a source close to Macron, who requested anonymity, told AFP.
Meanwhile, the Socialist Party, with the Greens and the Communists, forms an unprecedented alliance for the legislative elections with the extreme left party La France insoumise (LFI) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
He was by far the most successful leftist candidate in the first round of presidential elections and is spearheading efforts to form a broad bloc and mount a convincing challenge to Macron.
Pro-Macron factions have banded together under the banner of Ensemble (Together) while his own La République en Marche party, which is struggling to create a popular base, rebrands itself as Renaissance.
Huge challenges await the 44-year-old president.
He is expected to continue to play a leading role in efforts to end Russia’s war on Ukraine, as he carries an immense burden of expectations as a leader on the European stage, the Germany still finding its place in the post-Angela Merkel era.
Domestically, he must deal with the crisis of the rising cost of living and also prepare for possible protests when he finally tackles his cherished pension reform, raising the retirement age. in France.