French President Emmanuel Macron lost an outright majority in the parliament after 10 members from the ruling party defected to create an independent group. Macron’s La République En Marche (LREM) held an absolute majority in the parliament since 2017, but defectors created another group named ‘Ecology, Democracy, Solidarity’ to force the French President to opt for more left-oriented policies.
The defectors have accused Macron of compromising on his centrist promises and argued that the French President has actually been running a conservative government. In the 577-seat strong National Assembly, the LREM has now reportedly 288 seats, one short of the majority mark. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire hit out at defectors saying he regrets that some people want to reopen the left-right division.
The defection has been another blow to Macron’s term in the office which has been marred by demonstrations by the yellow vest protestors and workers opposing the reform to the national pension system. In December 2019, doctors, teachers and workers at the Eiffel tower walked off from the job to resist pension reforms proposed by the French President.
Macron wants to move away from the system of dozens of pension schemes to a universal points-based pension system, aimed at rewarding employees based on their daily work. Unions were unhappy with the pension reforms since they were being forced to retire later or avail reduced pensions.
Macron’s approval rating dipped even further after France struggled to contain the coronavirus pandemic with over 28,000 deaths related to the infectious disease. The European Union member has reported nearly 180,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and looks to have flattened the curve after stringent measures.