French president in rare address to parliament


Six weeks after his election as president, Emmanuel Macron will deliver a rare address to a joint meeting of the French parliament on Monday, revealing his vision for the next five years.

However, the country's opposition has already said it views the address -- to be given at the former royal palace at Versailles -- as one being delivered by a "new presidential monarch".

According to the Elysee, Macron's address will offer his "reading of [French] institutions". A major policy statement by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected on Tuesday.

Convening parliament is a procedure generally reserved for major constitutional revisions and presidential speeches during times of crisis.

Such a congress last met in November 2015 when former Socialist President Francois Hollande declared that France was at war with terrorism after Daesh terrorists killed more than 100 people in the Paris region.

Former conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy also addressed a joint congress in 2009 at the height of the worldwide financial crisis.

In June, Macron's La Republique En Marche! (LREM) political movement and its centrist MoDem ally won an overwhelming majority of 350 seats in France's National Assembly -- far more than the 289 needed for an absolute majority.

Several deputies and senators from opposition parties, such as Jean-Luc Melenchon's left-wing La France insoumise (Unbowed France), and communists, have boycotted Monday's address, accusing the centrist president of behaving like a "republican monarch" and transforming the constitution into a "communications tool".

Macron was also mocked in the media, with left-wing newspaper Liberation running a caricature of the president as Jupiter, descending from the clouds complete with toga and lightning bolts, under the headline: "Manupiter at Versailles."

After Macron's speech, he will leave the chamber to make room for a debate without a vote.

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