Top ally Bayrou says not joining French government, in blow for Macron

"It's a big thorn in the side of the government," Harris Interactive pollster Jean-Daniel Levy said of Bayrou's decision not to join the government, adding that it was particularly bad news for Attal, saying it showed a lack of political weight for the young prime minister. Bayrou said his party would remain a full-fledged member of the majority.


Reuters | Updated: 08-02-2024 16:46 IST | Created: 08-02-2024 16:46 IST
Top ally Bayrou says not joining French government, in blow for Macron

Francois Bayrou, a key ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, said on Thursday he would not be joining the government, further complicating the task of Macron and new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in trying to pull together a team. The decision by centrist MoDem party leader Bayrou, a veteran of French politics who helped Macron sweep to power in 2017, could also make the adoption of legislation in parliament more unpredictable.

"I will not let things drift without saying anything," Bayrou told franceinfo broadcaster, citing disagreement over policy and saying the current administration was out of touch with the population. Bayrou had been widely expected to return to the cabinet after he was acquitted of fraud charges on Monday.

Macron lost his absolute majority in parliament shortly after winning a second mandate in 2022, and the fact that his new prime minister still has not named a full new cabinet nearly one month after being appointed highlights the difficulties they are facing. "It's a big thorn in the side of the government," Harris Interactive pollster Jean-Daniel Levy said of Bayrou's decision not to join the government, adding that it was particularly bad news for Attal, saying it showed a lack of political weight for the young prime minister.

Bayrou said his party would remain a full-fledged member of the majority. But his decision not to join the government was exacerbating tensions, Levy said. Bayrou's party has a hefty group of 51 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament. He said he had rejected an offer to join the government as defence minister and would have been interested in taking on the education portfolio.

Bayrou, who is the mayor of southwestern city of Pau, said he was concerned over a growing divide between voters and those holding positions of power, noting that ministers were mostly from Paris and not the wider country. "This country needs a better political understanding of what is going with people and less management by technocrats," he said.

A three-time presidential candidate, Bayrou did not exclude making a new bid in three years, when Macron's second - and last - mandate ends. "What is at stake in 2027 in France is to reconcile those struggling at the bottom of the ladder with those governing," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback