French Macron sworn in for second term as president


Macron says his second term will be “new” and not just a continuation of the first.

Emmanuel Macron has been sworn in for his second term as President of France in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace, followed by the firing of cannons in the Invalides Gardens.

In a country where presidents are rarely re-elected, Macron won 58.5 percent in the April runoff against far-right Marine Le Pen, despite strong opposition to his pro-business policies and a proposal to raise the retirement age. †

In a short speech on Saturday, he spoke of the need to innovate at a time of unprecedented challenges for the world and for France, saying his second term would be “new” and not just a continuation of the first.

“We must invent together a new method, far from tired traditions and routines, with which we can build a new productive, social and environmental contract,” he said, promising to act with “respect” and “consideration”.

Among the 500 guests in attendance were former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime ministers Edouard Philippe, Manuel Valls, Alain Juppe and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, as well as religious leaders and other state figures.

Macron faces a daunting agenda to implement the reforms he promised when he came to power in 2017 as France’s youngest-ever president, and to tackle Russia’s war in Ukraine.

He also points to a more comprehensive and understanding style of government after critics complained during his first term in office that the former investment banker had abrasive and arrogant methods.

French journalist Pierre Haski said the inauguration was a relatively “humble” and low-key event.

“He has tried to portray himself as a humble new president for a second term, who will act against the crises.” [France is facing]† or the war against Ukraine, the pandemic, climate change, and also the domestic social and democratic challenges he faces,” he told Al Jazeera.

Haski said one of the biggest domestic challenges Macron will face is rising inflation amid the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

“This is a major challenge for a government that is trying to both support Ukraine and mitigate the damage and impact of this crisis on the French people,” he said.

Macron’s inauguration marks the end of one election campaign and the opening of another – ahead of parliamentary elections in June.

A newly united political left — a coalition formed between far-left La France Insoumise, the Parti Socialiste, the Greens and the Communist Party — hopes to strip Macron of a majority in parliament.

The right-wing Les Republicains was also scheduled to hold a national council meeting on Saturday.

Macron will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday for “Europe Day”.

Later that week, for the first foreign trip since his inauguration, he will go to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Macron, 44, is the first non-coalition president to be re-elected since the formation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Macron’s new term in office formally begins on the evening of May 13. He is expected to appoint a new prime minister in place of the incumbent Jean Castex to lead a renewed government.

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