On the 7th of May, only a little over three months ago, Macron was elected and promised a new kind of politics for France. Macron is the youngest president France has ever had, Europe’s new golden boy with bountiful charisma, and seemed to have everything going for him.
However, it has come to light with a recent poll that a majority of the French consider themselves dissatisfied with Macron. The Ifop poll shows the cumulative drop in Macron’s popularity ratings since May was bigger than that of previous Socialist president François Hollande over the same period. The survey, published on Sunday, suggested that the number of voters happy with him had fallen to 40%, while those who were dissatisfied with his actions had grown to 57%. This does not bode well for Macron since Hollande finished his mandate with a measly 17 % popularity rate. Moreover, this is the fastest fall in popularity of any French president since 1995.
Macron’s summer has been peppered with multiple controversies. Social media commentators and political opponents heavily criticised the president after it emerged he spent €26,000 on makeup during his first 100 days in office; people revolted against the idea of Brigitte having a paid role in the Elysée; there was also the conflict with the head of the French armed forces. Cuts to housing assistance, which would affect poor people the most, didn’t help his case.
Daniel Fasquelle of the Les Républicains party said Macron was paying for his lack of experience (in regards to the Brigitte situation):
“He’s not up to the job, either in his behaviour or in addressing the issues. We are seeing promises not being kept, hitches, flip-flopping.”
Macron also faces a lot of pressure from trade unions in regards to his plans to deregulate the labour market with an “XXL” version of the El Khomri law. For instance, the CGT, a far-left union, will be leading a rally in September. Also, his uncharacteristic silence in the press is giving his opposition the chance to regain territory after Macron managed to secure the majority in France’s parliament. Jean-Luc Mélenchon in particular, with his far-left party La France Insoumise, has placed himself at the head of Macron’s opposition and will be leading his own rally later next month.
French government spokesman Christophe Castaner admitted Mr. Macron’s En Marche! party was going through a difficult time:
“Yes, we are encountering difficulties, but you cannot just spend your time only looking at polls when you’re in government. We are there to transform the country. Our country needs us to take risks, and we are taking risks”
Photo: Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons