How migration bill has become a challenge to Macron’s government

One of French President Emmanuel Macron’s core policy promises to combat the rise of the far-right risks failing.

On December 11, the French National Assembly’s majority voted to halt consideration of the draft immigration bill.

In France, refusing to consider a measure is extremely rare. It happened last time in 2008, when MPs rejected a bill on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin’s initiative met the same end.

Analysts attribute the failure to the Minister of the Interior’s desire to reach an impossible compromise: right-wing parties demanded stricter legislation on illegal migrants, while left-wing parties demanded amendments that would grant illegal immigrants the right to medical care and residence permits under certain conditions.

Following the rejection of the immigration measure, the Interior Minister traveled to the Elysee Palace to present his resignation to the President.

Macron refused to accept it, displaying not just his trust in Darmanin but also his desire to implement immigration reform.

Furthermore, the president rejected the idea of abandoning the immigration measure.

The French president, according to the Elysee Palace, said he was waiting for the government’s suggestions to “bring the bill to an effective legal text.”

Last week, Macron stated that he would have talks with the French in more detail in January to establish the major milestones for the remaining time of his presidency.

What are the government’s other options? Of course, the executive branch could recognize that it lacks an absolute majority in parliament and withdraw the bill. However, Macron sees this as a recognition of the regime’s crisis.

However, the French government has one more step to take. Commentators use the term to stress that the present French parliament would never pass the Macron government’s promised changes.

Following the summer 2022 legislative elections, the president’s supporters lost an absolute majority in the National Assembly, as illustrated by the fate of the draft immigration law.

The conflict between the executive and legislative branches will continue, and some have suggested that dissolving the National Assembly and holding new parliamentary elections is the only way out of the crisis.

However, Macron’s party’s leadership thinks that they will have little chance of recovering even a slight majority.

According to polls, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally Party has a good chance of winning the election.

The future will reveal whether Gérald Darmanin’s defeat in parliament was a one-time occurrence or if it signals the end of any hope of passing the new migration legislation until 2027.

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