Less than three months after he was elected, the French president’s popularity has fallen after announcing budget cuts launching a divisive labor reform and engaging in a damaging dispute with the military.
Breitbart News reports that a series of opinion polls were conducted last week showing the popularity of Macron plummeting.
“Apart from Jacques Chirac in July 1995, a newly elected president has never seen his popularity rate falling as quickly during the summer after the election,” France’s Ifop polling agency explained.
Two months ago, the French president was being pictured as someone who was giving his country a confidence boost after years of economic stagnation and security fears. However, he is increasingly being portrayed as someone who is inexperienced but power hungry.
The media in France have started calling Macron “Jupiter” in reference to the mythological king of the Roman gods. In Roman mythology, Jupiter negotiates with the second king of Rome to establish the principles of Roman religion. Those principles included offering and sacrifice.
Although Macron has struggled in his own country, he has managed to raise the diplomatic profile of France by hosting meetings with powerful world leaders such as President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Libyan peace talks in Paris.
Macron’s slide in popularity has been connected with the government’s plans to reduce housing aid for students and to initiate tax reform. The tax reform is designed to help lower-income employees but could put a weight on the shoulders of retirees.
Another reason Macron’s popularity has dropped can be linked to his standoff with the French military chief over budget cuts. Gen. Pierre De Villiers resigned and was quickly replaced. Some saw the exchange as evidence of authoritarianism by Macron.
Although Macron promised to boost the spending on defense to 2% gross domestic product by 2025, as part of France’s commitments to NATO, the French government announced a reduction of 870 million euros in military spending this year.
He has also received negativity from labor unions and France’s far-left parties as they try to battle the labor reforms that were central to Macron’s campaign. The reforms will enable companies to more easily set workplace rules rather than having to rely on collective bargaining agreements. In addition, the reforms will also cap the potential financial penalties for companies sued for firing employees.
Macron has distanced himself from the media, excluding choreographed photo shoots. He canceled the traditional Bastille day interview and has refused to do interviews on many occasions.
Daniel Fasquelle, a lawmaker from the conservative The Republicans party slammed Macron for what he claimed to be the “will to weaken all opposition” by refusing to be present with the media.
“These are excesses the French judge more harshly and they are right,” said Fasquelle on France’s Info radio. “It simply means the president is not up to the task… He’s paying for his own lack of experience. Maybe he got too quickly, too soon, high responsibilities that are overwhelming him.”
“No one can blame him (Macron) for rarely speaking,” Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said. “I understand it can irritate a bit. I understand it can be questioned. But I think you and me should get used to it because the president has decided not to be a commentator (of the news), but an actor.”
Maybe now some in France are starting to wish they had elected Marine Le Pen.