French election: Le Pen threatens to clip Macron’s wings on Ukraine and defense

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France’s Macron and Le Pen Clash Over Presidential Powers Ahead of Snap Election

PARIS — As France braces for a snap parliamentary election, Emmanuel Macron faces a challenge from Marine Le Pen, who signals a robust bid for power that could reshape the nation’s strategic direction despite constitutional norms.

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The impending election, which could see Le Pen’s National Rally seize significant parliamentary seats, has sparked intense debate over the division of powers between the presidency and prime minister. Traditionally, the president holds sway over foreign policy, defense, and EU appointments, areas now contested by Le Pen.

In a recent interview, Le Pen underscored her intent to wield substantial influence, questioning Macron’s authority as commander-in-chief and emphasizing the prime minister’s role in pivotal decisions such as military deployments, notably concerning Ukraine. Macron, known for his pro-Ukraine stance amid tensions with Russia, faces opposition from Le Pen, who has historically leaned towards Kremlin-friendly policies.

The contest extends beyond defense. Le Pen has also challenged Macron’s prerogative to appoint France’s European commissioner, a critical position influencing EU policy and economic strategy.

Constitutional scholars point to inherent ambiguities in France’s separation of powers, where presidential authority intersects with prime ministerial governance, especially concerning budgetary control and policy implementation. This complexity threatens to stall decision-making, with potential implications for France’s stability and international relations.

With election dynamics evolving, Macron’s camp defends constitutional norms, invoking the legacy of Charles de Gaulle to underscore presidential responsibilities. Meanwhile, Le Pen’s National Rally, emboldened by electoral gains, prepares to assert its influence, setting the stage for a contentious period in French politics and its global ramifications.

As Sunday’s election approaches, the clash between Macron and Le Pen over executive authority portends a pivotal juncture for France, raising concerns within the EU and NATO about the nation’s future strategic course amid political upheaval.

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