French ex-PM Valls wants to join Macron's movement

May 11, 2017, 23:05
French ex-PM Valls wants to join Macron's movement

PARIS (AP) - French ex-Premier Manuel Valls suggested Tuesday that he wants to abandon France's Socialist party and run in June parliamentary elections under the banner of the president-elect's centrist political movement.

"As of today, he (Valls) does not fit the criteria that would allow the investiture committee to take him on", Jean-Paul Delevoye, the man in charge of choosing Macron's party's candidates, told Europe 1 radio.

The legislative elections on June 11 and 18 will now decide whether Macron's "Republic on the Move" party - barely a year old and still without seats in parliament - will win enough seats to let him govern effectively for the next five years.

His party chief, Richard Ferrand, said on Monday Macron's 'En Marche!' (Forward!) movement would change its name to "En Marche la Republique" or "Republic on the Move", so as to structure itself more like a traditional party.

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Benoit Hamon, the unsuccessful Socialist Party candidate in the presidential contest, said he would set up a new movement after several of his hallmark proposals during that campaign were abandoned by his own party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Emmanuel Macron, congratulating him on his victory in the French presidential election. If Le Pen had won the election and France had exited the EU, that "could've led to the collapse of the union", the official said.

Without that, Mr Macron would be forced to forge alliances, which could mean a watering down of his campaign promises.

The pro-European centrist leader was elected President last week. Macron's En Marche party now has no seats in parliament, though an opinion poll last week predicted it would emerge as the largest in the parliamentary elections next month.

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He has said that half of his candidates for the 577 seats in the National Assembly will be new to politics.

As economy minister, a post he held for two years from August 2014, Macron had called for the merger of French auto giant Renault SA and its Japanese partner, Nissan Motor Co.

Despite not winning the French presidency with their candidate Marine Le Pen, the Front National may still make huge gains in the French national assembly where they now have only two deputies. Mr Macron's triumph, moreover, owed much to the French electorate's determination to prevent the Elysée Palace falling into the hands of Marine Le Pen.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday congratulated on Macron's election victory, saying he was happy that "the French have chosen European future".

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