Then-Prime Minister of France Elisabeth Borne delivers her speech during a press conference in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (Bertrand Guay, Pool via AP)

French prime minister resigns amid immigration law blowback

Elisabeth Borne out after less than 2 years in office

Associated Press |

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne resigned Monday following recent political turmoil over a new immigration law, paving the way for President Emmanuel Macron to seek fresh momentum by appointing a new government in coming days.

The shakeup was widely seen as an attempt by the 46-year-old centrist Macron to head off a looming lame-duck status. Macron’s term is to end in 2027, and he won’t be able to run again for president in line with the French Constitution.

In her resignation letter, Borne suggested she resigned at Macron’s request, citing the president’s “will” to “appoint a new prime minister.”

Borne’s resignation followed the passage late last month of contentious immigration legislation backed by Macron aimed at strengthening the government’s ability to deport some foreigners, among other measures.

Macron’s centrist alliance was able to pass the measure only after making a deal with the conservative Republicans party, which many observers saw as the government’s shift to the right. The tough negotiations and heated parliament debate raised questions over the ability of Borne’s government to pass future major bills.

Political observers also suggested that Macron, a staunch supporter of European integration, wants his new government to get ready for June’s European Union elections.

Borne, 62, had been appointed in May 2022 after Macron’s reelection for a second term. She was France’s second female prime minister.

The following month, Macron’s centrists lost their majority in parliament, forcing the government into political maneuvering and using special constitutional powers to be able to pass laws.

Last year, Borne faced mass protests often marred by violence against unpopular pension changes. The bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 was enacted into law in April, angering many people across the country.

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