Macron meets opposition chiefs to break French political deadlock

PARIS-President Emmanuel Macron will meet leaders of all of France’s political parties Wednesday, including his most bitter opponents, outside Paris in a bid to break the deadlock of a hung parliament. Deprived of an absolute majority in the National Assembly lower house since last year’s parliamentary elections, Macron said he wanted a “frank, honest and direct discussion” aimed at “acting together” for the benefit of voters.
In a letter inviting party bosses from the hard left to far right, Macron vowed to work together on writing new laws and “if need be” organising referendums -- a rare political tool that has previously backfired.
One idea under discussion is the government organising what has been dubbed a “preferendum” -- a non-binding public consultation that would offer voters multiple choice questions on issues such as immigration or education. Traditional one-question, yes-or-no referendums have in the past seen voters seek to censure the president himself, tripping up Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac on European issues in 1992 and 2005. “By asking several questions, people may vent on one of them and respond on the issues on all the others,” government spokesman Olivier Veran told broadcaster BFMTV on Monday.

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