With five days to go to the second round of France’s parliamentary elections, tensions are mounting between the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) and the presidential camp. On Tuesday, July 2, RN leader Marine Le Pen accused President Emmanuel Macron of carrying out an “administrative coup d’état” for using his powers to make appointments right up to the last moment, while his side is widely expected to lose the elections.

“It’s a form of administrative coup d’état,” denounced Le Pen on radio station France Inter. She suggested, based “on rumors,” that Macron is seeking to “counter the vote of the electorate, the result of the elections, by appointing people [loyal to him], so that they prevent, within the state, the ability to carry out the policy that the French people want.”

The last meeting of the Council of Ministers before the first round of elections, on Wednesday, June 26, saw the presidency initiate a broad move to appoint senior civil servants. These included the military governor of Paris, the new chief of the General Staff of the French Air Force, the new director of the European Union at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and three ambassadors. The president also announced in Brussels on Thursday his wish to see Thierry Breton reappointed as French commissioner in the European Union’s Commission.

‘It’s always been done,’ admits Eric Ciotti

Le Pen said “the aim” of such appointments is “to prevent Jordan Bardella [her pick for prime minister] from governing the country as he wishes,” should the Rassemblement National win a majority in Sunday’s second round of legislative elections. She added that if her party came to power, it would reverse these appointments so it “could govern.”

“For someone who gives lessons in democracy to the whole world, it’s still astonishing to act in such a way,” she said indignantly. “In such cases, we shouldn’t have dissolved,” she insisted. RN ally Eric Ciotti, the disputed president of the righ-wing Les Républicains, also spoke of the appointments on Tuesday morning on Europe 1 and Cnews, arguing that they illustrate “a general panic” in the president’s camp to “reseat those close to him.”

“It’s a sign of defeat, perhaps of lucidity, in this area,” he added, but acknowledged that “it’s always been done.”

Le Monde with AFP

Translation of an original article published in French on lemonde.fr; the publisher may only be liable for the French version.

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