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Forecast Podcast: French President Macron faces no confidence vote after bloc loses absolute majority in parliament

A photo of Palais Bourbon. The seat of the French National Assembly has a front with many columns and a medium peaked roof. There are relief statues under the roof. It is topped by a French flag and some antennas. Beside the grand entry are three more French flags.

Editors Jimmy Lovaas and Sophie Perryer discuss France’s recent legislative election, plus more on Ryanair cabin crew going on strike in several European countries, New York City’s Pride March, a NATO summit in Madrid and a presidential inauguration in the Philippines.

These stories and more are also available in our weekly Forecast email and you can subscribe for free.

This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Jess Fino, Imana Gunawan, David Wyllie, Jaime Calle Moreno and Sophie Perryer.  Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe

Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note: hello@factal.com.


Podcast Transcript

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

JIMMY LOVAAS, HOST:

Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.

Today is June 23.

In this week’s Forecast we’ve got Ryanair cabin crew going on strike in several European countries, New York City’s Pride March, a NATO summit in Madrid, a presidential inauguration in the Philippines and an update on the recent legislative elections in France. 

You can also read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you can find a link to in the show notes.

Ryanair strikes begin

Information compiled by Jess Fino

JIMMY: Ryanair cabin crew are expected to go on strike in several European countries starting tomorrow. 

Trade unions have called for walkouts in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium – all of which are popular summer destinations in Europe. 

Most strikes are expected to last two days. 

Trade unions in Belgium claim Ryanair is not respecting labor laws, while Portugal-based crew are demanding compliance with the country’s laws and better working conditions.

Now, air travel has been one of the industries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. And now, in the summer that air travel was supposed to return to normal, airlines are being forced to cancel thousands of flights. 

And so, if the strikes go ahead as planned, many travelers hoping to enjoy the first summer of relative normalcy in two years, will likely be affected all over Europe.

This also comes as airports face staff shortages with long lines reported in several major cities.

Pride March in New York City

Information compiled by Imana Gunawan

JIMMY: On Sunday, for the first time since 2019, the annual Pride March in New York City will return to a fully in-person event.

The annual march commemorates the anniversary of the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, that sparked the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

The march will make its way through Lower Manhattan past the Stonewall National Monument before finishing in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood. 

This year’s Pride March will be led by several grand marshals, including television personality Ts Madison and American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio. 

Angelica Ross, an actress and transgender activist best known for her roles in the shows “Pose” and “American Horror Story,” is slated to return as a co-host for a second year.

Now, New York City’s march, which is the largest annual Pride march in the world, follows several weeks of events honoring the history and future of LGBTQ rights and activism. 

Still, despite the celebratory nature of Pride, this year it comes amid a rise in hate crimes based on sexual orientation in New York City. 

It also comes amid a rise in anti-gay and anti-trans legislation pushed by political leaders across the United States. And that’s something LGBTQ rights advocates say makes celebrating visibility all the more important.

NATO Summit in Madrid

Information compiled by David Wyllie

JIMMY: NATO leaders will gather in Spain’s capital Madrid on Tuesday. They’re meeting for the alliance’s annual summit, with Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine expected to dominate discussion. 

Membership applications from Finland and Sweden, as well as the endorsement of a new strategic concept for the alliance, are also likely to be featured.

Of course, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has posed the greatest test for NATO since the end of the Cold War, with member nations funneling aid into Ukraine but stopping short of intervening militarily given it isn’t a member of the bloc. 

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is expected to address the summit by video on its first day, asking for more aid and Western weapons to fight off Russian advances. 

Defense ministers from the member nations recently met to set the groundwork for what will be discussed next week.

Now, the heads of government are expected to discuss the issues in detail before issuing a final statement. That statement will likely reiterate the commitments of member nations to defend each other, as well as condemning Russia’s aggression. 

NATO’s leadership hopes that in-person diplomacy will advance Sweden and Finland’s pursuit of NATO membership – something Turkey has expressed concerns about. 

Turkey has said the Madrid summit is not a deadline, and that talks will continue.

Philippines president inauguration

Information compiled by Jaime Calle Moreno

JIMMY: Next Thursday, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., also known as Bongbong Marcos, well, he’ll be inaugurated as the 17th president of the Philippines with running-mate Sara Duterte.

The pair won record landslide victories in the country’s elections in May. 

Bongbong Marcos is the son of infamous dictator and former president Ferdinand Marcos. Sara Duterte is the daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte. 

The inauguration will take place in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila. In the meantime, security forces continue to make plans, close roads and prepare the capital for a large influx of Marcos Jr. supporters.

Now, the victories of both Marcos Jr. and Duterte have been met with warnings by experts.

Some analysts worry it’s not only a continuance of dynastic and strongman rule in the Philippines, but also a democratic backslide. 

Marcos Jr.’s policies have been difficult to pinpoint, citing “unity” but showcasing few details and avoiding debates throughout the election. 

Still, the president-elect has urged people to judge him on his actions rather than his family’s past, one filled with repression, violence and embezzlement

Finally, while the inauguration itself may be marred by protests from the opposition, security forces have said protesters will not be allowed into the celebrations on Thursday.

France legislative elections

Information compiled by Sophie Perryer

JIMMY: Our last item for this forecast is a look at the recent legislative elections in France. For more on that, I spoke with Factal Senior Editor Sophie Perryer. 

JIMMY: Hi, Sophie. 

SOPHIE: Hey Jimmy, nice to see you again.

JIMMY: You too. I’m glad you’re here. Well, I’m hoping you can catch our listeners up to speed on France’s parliamentary elections last weekend. Any surprises?

SOPHIE: Absolutely. It was a really impactful election, actually, as President Emmanuel Macron lost his majority in France’s lower house, the Assemblée nationale. So an absolute majority is 289 seats, but Macron’s Ensemble! coalition won 245 in Sunday’s vote, which still makes it the largest bloc in the legislature, but short of that key controlling stake.

JIMMY: Who picked up those lost seats?

SOPHIE: Well, these split between the left and the right. So on the left, these were taken by the Nouvelle Union populaire écologique et sociale, or the NUPES, an alliance led by Macron’s presidential election challenger Jean-Luc Mélenchon. So NUPES took 131 seats, making it the largest opposition force in the Assemblée nationale now. On the right, the far-right Rassemblement nationale party led by Macron’s previous presidential runoff challenger Marine LePen took 89 seats. Now, that’s actually 10 times the figure that they won at the previous election in 2017.

JIMMY: You know, losing a parliamentary majority often results in shakeups. Is that going to be the case here?

SOPHIE: Absolutely. In fact, Macron actually faced direct personal challenges from both the left and the right in the immediate aftermath of the vote. So, a parliamentarian from the NUPES coalition threatened him with a no confidence vote on July 5th – which is the day his government is due to present his new legislative agenda – and Marine LePen also described Macron as a “minority president” now, in a speech following the vote.

JIMMY: What should we expect if they follow through with a no confidence vote?

SOPHIE: Well, it is pretty unlikely that Macron would be ousted in a confidence vote as the NUPES alliance doesn’t have enough votes among their own parliamentarians to do so and it’s unlikely that they would team up with LePen’s far-right bloc to oust Macron as the two sides are at polar opposites of political spectrum. However, a confidence vote would create a bit of a political circus that would make it very difficult for Macron to push through any of his legislative agenda, particularly a controversial pension reform plan, which he was forced to shelve during his last term due to widespread protests.

JIMMY: Well, besides just watching for a possible no confidence vote, what else should folks be keeping an eye out for?

SOPHIE: Well, at this stage, Macron’s best hope of achieving his manifesto proposals is through the support of the conservative Les Républicains party as the support would tip him into controlling the majority of the Assemblée nationale. Another option for him would be to dissolve parliament and call new elections. Jacques Chirac, the former president, tried this in 1997 and it resulted in him losing his presidential majority. But in any case, Macron doesn’t seem to be considering this strategy. On Tuesday, he actually refused the resignation of his Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, which is customary following an election, and instead called on his government to remain on task.

JIMMY: Well, Sophie, we are unfortunately running low on time today, but I thank you for enlightening us on French politics. Much appreciated.

SOPHIE: Thanks for having me. 

JIMMY: Take care

JIMMY: Today’s episode was produced with work from Factal editors Jess Fino, Imana Gunawan, David Wyllie and Jaime Calle Moreno. Our interview featured Senior Editor Sophie Perryer and our music comes courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Until next time, thanks for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. You can, of course, subscribe for free. And if you have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing hello@factal.com

This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed. 

Top photo: The seat of French National Assembly – the lower legislative house of the French Government (Elliot Brown/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

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