The French presidential system: its courtiers and cretinous nature


After the resignation of his high-profile and popular environment minister – which exposed the gulf between the presidency and wider society – President Emmanuel Macron made a declaration and a decision which then widened that gap still further. The decision was the nomination of a close friend, the writer Philippe Besson, as France's consul general in Los Angeles. The declaration was his criticism of his own people as “Gauls who are resistant to change”. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel looks at what these recent episodes say about the state of France's outmoded presidential system.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

There is no doubt that the brave new world of Macronism is exhibiting all the hallmarks of a rather old world – that of an ancient monarchic regime. While it may not have the hereditary nature of a monarchy, it displays the privileges of caste and the arrogance of class, egocentric power and court society of one. Each new episode in the saga of this presidency confirms this and reveals, beyond the predictably neo-liberal aspect of its economic and social policies, a practice of politics that is a thousand miles from the “profound democratic revolution” promised in the first pages of Emmanuel Macron's election campaign book Révolution, published by XO Éditions in 2016.