- Title: Bracing for reform fight, Macron has trouble in his own camp
- Date: 4th October 2019
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 9, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF PARIS CITY HALL
- Embargoed: 18th October 2019 09:11
- Keywords: France The Republic on the Move Annecy municipal elections National Assembly Cedric Villani Benjamin Griveaux Emmanuel Macron
- Location: ANNECY AND PARIS, FRANCE / INTERNET
- City: ANNECY AND PARIS, FRANCE / INTERNET
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00IAZOLLJB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Previously-loyal lawmakers inside the party of Emmanuel Macron are voicing dissent about its direction, according to interviews with party insiders, exposing new faultiness in the political base the French president needs to deliver his ambitious reform agenda.
Macron came to power promising to shake up the economy, but he needs a solid powerbase to deliver that in the face of fierce resistance from trade unions, the political opposition and the grass-roots "yellow vest" protest movement.
Showing the scale of the dissent, around 20 lawmakers with Macron's La Republique en Marche (LaRem) party are supporting Cedric Villani, who rebelled against the party to run for mayor of Paris against the party's candidate, according to six parliamentary sources, including two who do not back Villani.
In another sign of dissent, lawmaker Frederique Lardet, a former hotel executive who quit her job to join Macron's movement, told Reuters she is prepared if necessary to go against the party's wishes to mount a bid for the job of mayor in her home city of Annecy, in the French Alps.
Lardet said for the mayoral race in Annecy, the party is considering backing the incumbent, Jean-Luc Rigaut, a 60-year-old elected in 2007. She said he was part of a political establishment that the party was supposed to break with.
Macron's party has 300 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, so faces no short-term risk of losing the majority he needs to get his reforms adopted into law, but there is growing unease among party ranks.
Since he became president, Macron faced some dissent from the left-wing of his party who disliked his stances on immigration and liberalising the economy. Nine lawmakers have left the group over policy disagreements since 2018.
The latest wave of dissent is different because it comes from people who squarely support Macron's policies but believe the party is being drawn into conducting politics-as-usual.
Four Macron lawmakers who spoke to Reuters said they were troubled by the party's decision to pick as its candidate for Paris mayor not Villani, a charismatic mathematician, but Benjamin Griveaux, a long-standing disciple of Macron.
Anne-Christine Lang, a Paris lawmaker with Macron's party said she is actively backing Villani's mayoral bid.
Municipal elections in March 2020 will be the biggest domestic electoral test to date for Macron since he was elected in 2017.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani and Ardee Napolitano)
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