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French President Macron resigns

CD
Christopher Dembik

Head of Macroeconomic Research

Summary:  "In a televised address, he criticises the opposition’s standpoint of absolute blockage and announces he is retiring from politics." - Christopher Dembik.


When President Emmanuel Macron won a second term in May 2022, he believed he could lead France on a royal road to carry out reforms. However, this was before the June 2022 legislative elections when his party and his allies lost their outright majority in Parliament, thus forcing Macron to make compromises. Needless to say, this is something he is not familiar with.  

Confronted with a strong opposition from the left-wing alliance NUPES and Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, the government has no other choice but to pass major laws and the 2023 budget by a fast-track decree—triggering the constitution's article 49.3. Nevertheless, bypassing lawmakers cannot be a way to govern in a democracy. Not in the long run, at least. Macron initially thinks about dissolving the Parliament to organise snap elections. Polls indicate this is not a solution, as it would still lead to a hung parliament. He therefore understands that he will be a lame duck for the next four years and he will not be able to pass his signature pension reform.  

Following the example of the founder of France’s democratic system Charles de Gaulle in 1946 and in 1969, Macron unexpectedly decides to resign in early 2023. In a televised address, he criticises the opposition’s standpoint of absolute blockage and announces he is retiring from politics. While France is preparing for a new presidential election, Macron decides to realise his long-time dream of establishing a start-up.  

Inwardly, he did not give up on the idea of returning to power. He hopes that his supporters and the silent majority will ask him to come back when France will fall into a political turmoil, as it happened for De Gaulle in 1958. Macron’s resignation opens the door of the Élysée Palace to the far-right contestant Le Pen, thus causing a wave of stupefaction throughout France and beyond, and setting up the latest existential challenge to the EU project and its shaky institutional foundations. 

Market impact: Causes a wobble in the euro, but eventually the opposite as the sense of crisis galvanizes an broader anti-populist coalition under new leadership – French OAT sovereign bond yields converge with German Bunds.

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