Macron promised a more inclusive and understanding style of government. (AFP photo)
PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron was sworn in for a second term on Saturday after his election victory over the far right, facing immense foreign and domestic policy challenges after a first term that had often polarized the nation.
In a ceremony at the Elysee Palace, Macron was confirmed by the head of the Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius as the winner of the April presidential election, then signed the official document of re-investiture.
Attended by a few hundred people, including his wife Brigitte and his only predecessors François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, the ceremony was relatively modest but marked the first time that a French leader had served a second term in 20 years.
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.
He also indicates a more inclusive and understanding style of decision-making after his first term saw critics complain that the former investment banker had abrasive and arrogant ways.
“I vow to build a more livable planet, a more lively France and a stronger France,” he said in a speech at the Elysee Palace, swearing a “new method” to govern.
According to a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, 21 cannon shots must be fired from the Invalides military memorial to celebrate the inauguration.
Without a car on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees or a long red carpet, the ceremony resembled the reinaugurations of François Mitterrand in 1988 and Jacques Chirac in 2002, the last French president to win a second term.
Macron’s second term will not officially begin until the first expires at midnight on May 13.
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, Macron 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.
Macron won the second round of presidential elections on April 24 with a score of 58.55% over his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
The ceremony 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.