The other leg, Mr. President! Put weight back on your left leg urgently because you need a national consensus now. France has of course escaped the worst, the importation of the Hungarian model of “democrature”, the weakening of its economy, the paralysis of the European Union that would have followed and the triumph that the election of Mrs. Le Pen would have offered to the Russian president.

France and the Union have come back from the brink, but in June the French could send three dominant groups to the National Assembly, between whom there would be no agreement: Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s “Insoumise” left, Mrs. Le Pen’s Rassemblement national and the centrists elected under the presidential label.

Without a parliamentary majority, Emmanuel Macron might soon have to dissolve the Assembly. He would then run the risk of being disavowed by the voters, and even if he managed to forge a coalition, he would be, already after the summer, in a weak position to face the “third social round” with the threat of the extent of popular discontent, inflation and the decline in purchasing power.

Like all his predecessors since Jacques Chirac, Emmanuel Macron may therefore find himself faced with the impossibility of making the slightest change, and in particular not the pension reform that he had already failed to pass during his first term. This is the second danger that awaits him and, while interest rates are rising again, he may not be able to reduce the budget deficits created by Covid-19.

French finances would be in a worrying state and this would not put him in a position – this is the third danger – to have enough influence at the European Council to make the Union evolve on time at a time when everything demands it.

In a word, all that the President of the Republic has done has been not to lose. If he wants to win now, if he wants to go down in history as the man thanks to whom France contributed to making the European Union a political power, if he wants to achieve what is his great ambition rather than prove impotent on the French scene, he needs to get the support of the left.

For him, this is the urgent need of the hour, and it means that he must propose a program for the legislative elections that the left and the Greens cannot but approve. He had begun to do so in the last two weeks, saying he was in favor of a redoubling of efforts in the fight against global warming and the opening, in July at the latest, of a social conference on the financing and expansion of social protection.

It would be a question of putting everything on the table, of making it clear that there can be no new solidarities in the face of dependency or autism without new revenues and that it will therefore be necessary to extend the duration of working time.

The question is to know how many years and at what pace. It will be up to the social partners and then to the national representatives to decide, but the certainty is that this cannot be done without the approval and support of the voters of the left and the Greens.

In other words, Emmanuel Macron must appoint a Prime Minister who can embody this shift to the left without alienating the center and the right wings. A trade unionist like Laurent Berger, the secretary-general of the CFDT, the French Democratic Confederation of Labour, could form a government of national unity and succeed in squaring this circle.

Great economists could also do it. There is no shortage of possible candidates, but whoever the future Prime Minister may be, they will have to lay the foundations of a Democratic Party capable of attracting, one day, part of Mr. Mélenchon’s electorate, most of the social democrats, the center and the social right in the Gaullist tradition.

We are not there yet. It is still too early, but it is from now on that we must proceed to it, because the major French parties are in ruins and the right wing and the far right will try to unite in a nationalist, illiberal and xenophobic pole to which we must oppose a social, democratic and European front. Never since De Gaulle has a president faced such historic challenges.

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