• France’s Macron faces first challenges ahead of swearing in

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    PARIS: Tensions over president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s bid to redraw France’s political map burst into the open Friday (Saturday in Manila) as a key ally was briefly angered ahead of crucial parliamentary elections next month. Macron annoyed fellow centrist Francois Bayrou and faced mockery from his opponents after his La Republique En Marche (REM, Republic on the Move) party unveiled more than 400 candidates for crucial parliamentary elections in June. “It’s a big recycling operation for the Socialist party,” Bayrou told L’Obs magazine, adding that candidates from his MoDem party had been offered only 35 constituencies instead of the 120 he expected. Bayrou, a veteran centrist and presidential candidate, threw his support behind Macron at the end of February at a crucial time when the Macron’s campaign needed new momentum. However, by Friday evening Bayrou announced a “solid and balanced” draft agreement had been reached with Macron’s party regarding the list of candidates, putting an end to 24 hours of tension. Macron, who will be inaugurated on Sunday, has promised to refresh France’s parliament and his party unveiled 428 out of 577 candidates on Thursday. Half of them have never held elected office, including a retired female bullfighter and a star mathematician, and half of them are women.

    AFP

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