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February 26, 2024

French PM Borne Resigns Amid Political Tensions Over Immigration

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Jan 8, 2024

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne resigned on Monday, January 8th 2024, after weeks of rising political tensions over immigration policy. President Emmanuel Macron is now moving quickly to name a replacement, as he seeks to reboot his presidency ahead of European elections.

Lead Up to Borne’s Resignation

Borne, who became France’s first female prime minister just seven months ago, tendered her resignation after Macron made clear he wanted to change government tactics to ensure he commands a majority in the National Assembly after June’s elections.

Immigration has become an increasingly prominent political issue in France over recent months. Borne drew criticism in December 2022 for refusing to back down on aspects of an immigration bill that intensified left-right tensions. The draft immigration and asylum bill aims to make it harder for illegal migrants to remain in France once their initial demands are rejected.

Date Event
May 2022 Borne appointed Prime Minister
December 2022 Controversy arises over immigration bill Borne refuses to withdraw
January 2023 Rising tensions over immigration policy
January 8, 2024 Borne resigns as Prime Minister

The immigration bill proved highly divisive, causing tensions both within the ruling party and drawing criticism from migrant organisations and left-wing opponents. After Macron’s centrist alliance failed to win an absolute majority in legislative elections last year, it has had difficulties passing legislation, including the immigration reform.

Borne’s Resignation Statement

In her resignation statement on Monday morning, Borne said:

“In recent weeks, given the political configuration arising from the legislative elections, I have wondered about the best way to keep the country on a reformist path…This is why this morning I handed over my resignation from the government to the president.”

Her departure comes after weeks of speculation over whether she would remain as premier. According to an official at the French presidency, Borne met with Macron early Monday to discuss whether she was the right person to carry out the government’s policies.

Macron Seeks to Reboot Presidency Ahead of EU Elections

Borne’s exit provides Macron with an opportunity to reconfigure his government as he seeks to reboot his presidency in preparation for European Parliament elections in June 2024.

Macron had made clear that he wanted to change government tactics to ensure he commands a majority in the National Assembly after the elections. His centrist alliance failed to retain its parliamentary majority after legislative elections in June 2022. This loss of an absolute majority has limited Macron’s ability to pass legislation over the past months.

The president is now looking to name a new prime minister who will help him consolidate his political base ahead of the European elections next summer. The choice of replacement is expected to signal how Macron intends to steer his last two years in office before a 2027 presidential election.

What Happens Next?

All eyes are now on Macron to see who he will pick as France’s next prime minister. There is speculation he could name a new premier as soon as Monday afternoon.

Potential candidates include Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt, Budget Minister Gabriel Attal and Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau. Naming Attal, who is just 34 years old, would send a strong signal that Macron wants to groom a new generation of political leaders.

Other key questions in the coming days will include whether Macron accepts the resignation letters submitted by some ministers and how widely he then reshuffles his cabinet.

One thing is clear – Macron now has a window through Borne’s resignation to try to give fresh momentum to his pro-business agenda for France before voters go back to the polls in 2027. Gaining a majority in European elections next June will be a key target.

The weeks ahead promise to be turbulent ones politically in France, with immigration concerns continuing to dominate the debate. Macron will be hoping his choice of France’s next prime minister can steady things amid the tensions.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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