France risks prolonged political deadlock as opposition parties brush off President Emmanuel Macron's call for "compromises" to keep France governable after an indecisive parliamentary election.
French parties from left and right have brushed off President Emmanuel Macron's appeal for help to overcome a hung parliament, demanding he clarify what compromises he is ready to make to win their backing.
The European country risks prolonged political deadlock in view of the opposition's frosty reception on Thursday to Macron's appeal that came after an indecisive parliamentary election.
Before heading off to a European Union summit in Brussels, Macron late on Wednesday made a televised speech in which he acknowledged that this month's parliament elections had laid bare "deep divisions" across French society.
Ruling out a government of national unity, he called on rival party leaders either to look at possible coalition options with his centrist alliance or to consider lending support for reforms on a bill-by-bill basis.
The main opposition parliamentary groups, feeling triumphant after upsetting the president's party, seemed in no mood to help out Macron whom they accused of putting them on the spot.
"If he sticks to his project, he doesn't have an absolute majority," Socialist deputy Valerie Rabault told France Inter radio. "It will be him blocking France, not us."
Bruno Retailleau, a senator for the mainstream right Republicans party considered Macron’s best hope of getting his economic reforms through parliament, ruled out any form of coalition saying there was no trust in Macron.
"For us it will be on a case-by-case basis," he said.
Louis Aliot, vice-president of Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) — which is now the second-biggest party in parliament, also dismissed the appeal.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called Macron's speech a "ratatouille", a southern dish made by combining vegetables with lots of olive oil.
The reactions offer little hope of a swift way out of the impasse and threaten Macron's ability to carry out his planned reforms.
Over the previous two days, Macron had sounded out opposition leaders at the Elysee Palace.
His centrist alliance finished Sunday's parliamentary elections 44 seats short of a majority in the National Assembly, as a new left-wing coalition and the far right made major gains.
The situation has called into question Macron's plans for reform in his second term after his April presidential re-election — including a key measure to raise the retirement age.
Government spokesperson Olivia Grégoire, meanwhile, qualified Macron's implication that he wanted parties to clarify their stances within 48 hours, saying any further consultations would likely take weeks.
"He has started a dialogue which won’t end after 48 hours," she told radio.