Macron is out of touch with the ordinary people of France and entertains alternative interests in opposition to the voice of the majority is what many French citizens are saying. Emmanuel Macron was a breath of fresh air when he was voted into office in May as the youngest president in the history of France at 39. He won securing a majority of seats and had a high approval rating. Over the summer that approval rating dropped 24 points to around 40%, which is low in the history of France for a newly elected president. Leaders around the world seem to be showing oddities as well.
Donald Trump was voted as an outsider, the Netherlands had a few fringe candidates, Theresa May of England is in the middle of her Conservative Party’s infighting, and Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been labeled as successor to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over his cousin at the extremely young age of 31. Of the developed world few countries have shown stability in recent events with only Germany’s Angelas Merkel and Japan’s Shinzo Abe showing calm resilience.
Macron’s problems may stem from his overarching administration and his relationship with the media. He rarely speaks to reporters and has come across as stiff and even a little bit authoritarian. He keeps most people far away and still has his past image of an investment banker from his past stuck to his name.
While running for election this may have been positive in that he understands the economy and would be good for growth, but recently France’s working class has different things to say. Strikes have been organized by public workers to gain negotiating power in reform legislation. The workers hail from all industries from schools to hospitals amassing at a total of 5.4 million people. The outraged movement has been energized by calling Macron “President of the Rich” who just scrapped a wealth tax.
Despite critics, Macron is optimistic, something France has not seen in a while. The country has been rattled with slow recovery compared to England and Germany and an overly bureaucratic government that slows everything down from waiting lines at the ER to opening a business. Lately, it has been England and Scandinavian countries such as Norway leading in innovation and a number of successful startups from health to fin-tech.
Part of Macron’s trouble may stem from the European Union, which he hopes to reform. There are evident problems to people in the Eurozone including populism, a refugee crisis that has divided countries on acceptance or rejection, and inadequate resources. In working to better Europe, he could team with the lonely, Angela Merkel who is dealing with a lot of Europe’s problems on her own following Brexit. Despite trouble in the overarching Eurozone, Macron needs the support of his Senate. Macron failed to gain the Senate’s majority with a mere 23 of parliament’s 348 seats. The majority was the right-wing LR with 150 seats.
It is important to note that Macron hails from a new party that is mixed in the background and when coming to the final say France’s bicameral system provides the National Assembly with more weight. Macron seems to be juggling between an overhaul of France and working to secure his citizen’s and senate’s support while being alienated with dismal approval ratings. As he looks to international policy and meeting with Iraq more of his plans may come to light with a more organized structure.