Emmanuel Macron has always insisted he is not worried about opinion polls and that, as head of state, he is willing to court unpopularity to do what he considers right for France. That has not stopped him basing his political strategy around what the public says, sometimes playing off the polls against critics of his reforms – even if that risks dividing the French people. Ellen Salvi looks at the French president's approach to public opinion.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is at the centre of controversy over his decision to charter a luxuriously equipped Airbus plane at a cost of 350,000 euros to fly him and his staff back to France from Japan, leaving a French air force jet at his disposition to return empty, which he said was because of night-flight comfort and the need to return early to Paris before President Emmanuel Macron left on a foreign trip.
The events of last weekend have been revealing about the state of French politics and the balance of political power. The elections for the Senate, in which the Right consolidated its position in France's upper chamber, showed the limits and weakness of President Emmanuel Macron's government. At the same time the relatively modest turnout for a protest march in Paris organised by the radical left La France Insoumise highlighted the lack of major political opposition. But as Hubert Huertas says, this does not mean that opposition to the government's measures has melted away.
The first series of the Macron show has come to an end. Now, as the political world returns after the summer break, the show threatens to become more of a (grim) reality TV series. President Macron is confronted by three main issues: his economic policy is right-wing, many of his key measures are unpopular and he lacks heavyweight communicators in his party's ranks. As a result the new head of state seems set to change his communication strategy and get more involved in the fray. Mediapart's editor François Bonnet reports.
In a high-profile and highly-unusual speech before both chambers of the French Parliament in the sumptuous surroundings of Versailles on Monday July 3rd, President Emmanuel Macron claimed to be setting the “course” for his presidency. But, says Ellen Salvi, it turned out to be an hour-and-a-half of messages that had already been delivered during his election campaign and he announced little more than a promise of some institutional reforms.
Following the recent Parliamentary elections President Emmanuel Macron has formed a new government under the same prime minister Édouard Philippe. However, what was supposed to be a minor technical change to the government has become rather larger in scale after the departure of four ministers in response to potential scandals. The result is a government that gives us a glimpse of how the new centrist president intends to balance his administration between the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Stéphane Alliès, Christophe Gueugneau, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Mathilde Mathieu report.
by Stéphane Alliès, Christophe Gueugneau, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Mathilde Mathieu