Wednesday 23 May 2018 ,
Wednesday 23 May 2018 ,
Latest News
  • British PSVI experts to train orgs working on Rohingyas: Report
  • Ecnec clears revised Padma Bridge Rail Link Project
  • Myanmar to sign deal with UN resolving Rohingya crisis
  • CNG stations to remain open for 24 hrs during Eid: Quader
  • 10 killed in separate ‘gunfights’ early Tuesday
3 August, 2017 00:00 00 AM
Print

Macron’s popularity slides

The new French president has boundless ambition, but he faces a tough autumn ahead
Colin Randall
Macron’s popularity slides
Emmanuel Macron

As disgruntled voters in the West demand alternatives to the political mainstream they accuse of failing them, the far left and far right have become a good deal more susceptible to volatile public opinion.

But what term best suits 39-year-old France’s new president Emmanuel Macron, broadly if a little implausibly – given his past roles in banking and government – part of the shift away from the established order?

He occupies central political ground. But the early signs that he can be as dogmatic as the rest suggest that he may represent a new doctrine, the hard centre.

As  Macron cruised to victory in May, great weight was attached to the promise of renewal and change. His success, quickly followed by a strong parliamentary majority for his fledgling party, La République En Marche (Forward the Republic), was little short of sensational, if marred by high abstention.

But the honeymoon period is already over. Polls show him to have lost more support in his first two months in office – a 10 per cent drop – than any president since Jacques Chirac 22 years ago.

So what has gone wrong, and is the slump cause for serious concern or a meaningless blip?

At least two factors fuel the misgivings that have so swiftly appeared since the euphoria of his emphatic defeat of the Front National – and therefore far right – leader Marine Le Pen for the presidency.

Firstly, he has experienced an almost Trump-scale string of key departures. Secondly, in part linked to the first, he displays a streak of authoritarianism that few expected. This plays well with those who believe France cries out for the smack of firm government, but outrages a sizeable minority that sees rebelliousness as not only a virtue but a republican right.

When picking fights with the media – suspicion that he was trying to dictate which correspondents news organisations sent on presidential assignments and a minister’s bodged attempt to start criminal proceedings against newspapers over leaked policy documents –  Macron’s administration probably felt safe from public disapproval. But slapping down a popular chief of armed forces, Pierre de Villiers, over spending cuts, and the five-star general’s piqued resignation, raised rather more eyebrows.

The left-leaning Libération accused  Macron of running France as if directing Apple or Google and advised him to “grow up a little”. From the right, Le Figaro asked whether the “Macron machine” had shuddered to a halt.

The president can argue that his approval rating (54 per cent) remains at a level his predecessor, the hapless socialist François Hollande, could barely dream of. He impresses foreign leaders and made useful progress when hosting the Paris talks that produced agreement on a ceasefire in Libya.

But once the summer ends, he faces tough tests at home as he strives to deal with issues damaging to the French economy but notoriously difficult to resolve.

The unions are implacably hostile to planned reforms of pensions and employment law. A turbulent autumn of discontent – translated as disruption to transport and other services, accompanied by demonstrations liable to turn violent – lies ahead.

 Macron insists his will, backed by a democratic mandate, must prevail. In that respect, his hard centre is little different from the conventional left and right of previous governments. And presidents have a habit of ultimately bowing to the fury of the street.

France’s youngest president in history has boundless ambition. The country is about to discover whether he also has the acumen to overcome the tallest obstacle to his project: a very French tendency to support reforms as long as they affect only others.

    thenational.ae

Comments

Poll
Today's Question »
Civil rights body Shujan claims that Khulna city elections were a questionable election, which was not completely free, fair and flawless. Do you agree?
 Yes
 No
 No Comment
Yes 80.8%
No 18.2%
No Comment 1.0%
Most Viewed
Digital Edition
Archive
SunMonTueWedThuFri Sat
0102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031
More Op-ed stories
The Chittagong Hill Tracts issue Bangladesh is inhabited by 160+ million people. There are not less than 70 ethnic peoples of whom  near about 99% is the Bengali. As an ethnic entity the Bengalis including those of West Bengal of…

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting