By SYLVIE CORBET, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron was sworn in for a second term on Saturday, vowing to take steps to avoid any further escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine and promising to promote France and Europe on the stage. world.
Macron was re-elected for five years after winning the April 24 presidential run-off against far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
“The hour ahead will be that of resolute action for France and for Europe,” Macron declared, promising “to act relentlessly with one objective, which is to be a more independent nation, to better live and build our own French and European country”. responses to the challenges of the century.
Macron also promised to find a “fair method” to govern the country and ease its social tensions by making the government and parliament work with unions, associations and other players in the French political, economic, social and cultural world.
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“I will have only one compass: to serve,” Macron said. “At the service of our country… at the service of our fellow citizens… at the service of our children and our young people… to whom I am committed to passing on a more livable planet and a more lively and stronger France.
For a president comfortable talking for hours, Macron’s speech was surprisingly short – and handwritten. But afterwards, he took the time to shake hands, exchange kisses on the cheek and chat individually with dozens of guests.
While Macron presided over strict lockdowns and coronavirus vaccination mandates as the pandemic swept through France, most COVID-19 restrictions have now been lifted and there were no signs of masks or social distancing during the inauguration.
The event seemed unusually child-friendly for French presidential ceremonies, with several dignitaries bringing their children – and at least two in pushchairs. Macron, 44, has no children but has stepchildren and grandchildren, some of whom were there.
Upon his arrival in the Elysée reception hall, Macron gave a nod to his wife, Brigitte Macron.
About 500 guests were invited to the ceremony. They came mainly from the political world, but also included actors, health workers, military officers and former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. Most of those who received a coveted invitation were white men in suits, despite a growing push for diversity in French politics.
Hollande, a socialist who ruled France from 2012 to 2017, said “I think there will be considerable difficulties”, listing the war in Ukraine, rising prices, falling purchasing power and problems related to climate.
“That means the responses will have to match the challenges,” he said.
Hollande noted Macron’s message that he will seek new methods of governing as a good point, “not only because it will be a very difficult time, but also because France is very divided.”
After his speech, Macron went to the Elysée gardens and listened to 21 cannon shots fired from the Place des Invalides to mark the event, in keeping with tradition.
He also reviewed the army. The troops present at the ceremony included part of the crew of Le Monge, the second largest ship in the French Navy which is key to France’s nuclear deterrent. It was notably used for testing the M51 missiles launched by French nuclear-capable submarines.
The symbol could be seen as a show of force at a time when France is deeply involved in efforts to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine, including by sending truck-mounted guns and other heavy weapons.
Macron’s second term officially begins on May 14.
Macron is expected to appoint a new government soon, ahead of key legislative elections in France in June, which will decide who controls a majority of the 577 seats in the National Assembly.
Macron hopes his party and its centrist allies can win big from the presidential election. They currently hold over 300 seats in the Assembly.
This week, France’s long-divided left-wing parties agreed to join forces in a new coalition to counter Macron’s strategy and seek victory in the legislative elections. The Socialist Party has joined the Greens and the Communist Party in hooking up with the France Insoumise party of far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Mélenchon on Saturday called on voters to give the left a parliamentary victory and become prime minister at the first meeting of the new coalition.
“There will be a People’s Union government…and it is the (leftist) policies that will be implemented,” he said.
Angela Charlton and Catherine Gaschka contributed to this story.
Follow AP coverage of the 2022 French presidential election at https://apnews.com/hub/french-election-2022
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