By Rachel Poling
By Rachel Poling
Rabat – French President Emmanuel Macron addressed parliament on Monday, announcing plans to reduce the number of members in Parliament, lift France’s State of Emergency, reform the labor union, and revive the European Union.
At the Palace of Versailles, Macron spoke to both houses in a State of the Union-style address. In a ninety-minute speech, Macron reviewed the program he will follow during the five years of his presidency.
Macron stated his intention to reduce the number of lawmakers in the French parliament by a third, saying this reduction would allow the parliament to become stronger and more efficient.
The French president also vowed to lift the State of Emergency currently placed in France by fall of 2017. Since the Paris terrorist attack in 2015, France has extended its State of Emergency five times. Macron said that his government “will work to prevent any new attack, and will fight without pity, without regrets, without weakness.” He also pledged that French military forces would continue to fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria.
In reference to his campaign promises, Macron assured parliament that he would continue to work towards labor reforms as well as work to revive the European Union. However, he warned lawmakers that if they do not move fast enough to pass his reforms, he will call for a referendum.
Macron received an overwhelming amount of criticism after delivering his speech on Monday, with far-left members of parliament calling his reign a “presidential monarchy. ”Prior to Macron’s speech, the far-left Socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon encouraged lawmakers to boycott the event altogether.
Leftist parties, like Le France Insoumise announced they were prepared to fight against his plans for labor reforms. Macron’s reforms aim to create more flexible labor regulations, but unions and leftist parties in opposition instead favor a stronger labor union.
Moreover, after Macron’s party Le République en Marche won the majority in parliament in June, many began to fear that Macron was in fact securing too much power and protested the speech due to it monarchial nature.
While French presidents have addressed parliament at Versailles in the past, Mélenchon denounced Macron for holding his speech at the palace, saying the choice of venue was ostentatious and inappropriate. In response to Macron’s speech, Mélenchon stated “[Macron] is becoming intoxicated by his omnipotence.”
Both the location and the general tone of the address have created a seemingly aristocratic image of Macron. This has been encouraged by comparisons from politicians, commentators and social media users of the 39-year old with past indulgent leaders, such as Charles de Gaulle, Louis XIV and Machiavelli.