Macron faces growing unpopularity and internal dissent

President Emmanuel Macron

President Emmanuel Macron

Despite his polished image abroad, President Emmanuel Macron faces increasing unpopularity within France, causing his allies to distance themselves as they head into a snap election. His recent defeat in the European Parliament elections and the subsequent dissolution of the French parliament have raised concerns about his leadership and appeal.

Growing Unpopularity

Macron’s recent decision to call a snap election after a poor showing in the European Parliament elections has sparked fears among his allies that his involvement could lead to further disaster. Polls indicate that many French citizens view him as authoritarian and disdainful, a sentiment fueled by recent crises such as the Yellow Vest protests and the COVID-19 pandemic. His firm stance during widespread protests over pension reforms last year reinforced his image as aloof and out of touch.

Electoral Backlash

The backlash against Macron was evident in the European Parliament elections, where the far-right National Rally finished first with 31.4% of the vote, while Macron’s party received only 14.6%. Nearly half of the voters aimed to express their dissatisfaction with Macron and his government. In response, Macron dissolved the French parliament, calling for fresh national elections to counter the far-right surge. However, this move risks further destabilizing both French and European politics.

Internal Struggles

Macron’s allies are increasingly reluctant to associate with him on the campaign trail. Many fear his presence will mobilize opposition rather than support. François Bayrou, a key ally, has even suggested a "de-Macronization" of the campaign to mitigate the president’s negative impact.

Campaign Strategy

Despite the risks, Macron plans to actively participate in the campaign, with multiple media appearances each week. He aims to turn back the far-right tide and rally mainstream voters. However, early polls suggest his party could suffer another defeat, potentially relegating it to the third force in French politics.

Perception of Elitism

Macron’s background as an investment banker and policies favoring big business have contributed to his image as a president for the rich. His presentational style, often perceived as arrogant and elitist, exacerbates this issue.

Risk and Consequences

Macron's decision to call a snap election is seen by some as a desperate gamble. If his party suffers another defeat, the far-right National Rally could become the leading force in the National Assembly for the first time. This outcome would significantly alter the political landscape in France, potentially leading to the loss of numerous seats by Macron's MPs.

As Macron faces mounting unpopularity and internal dissent, his ability to lead his party to victory in the upcoming elections remains uncertain. His allies’ reluctance to feature him in their campaigns underscores the extent of his current political toxicity. The forthcoming elections will be a crucial test of his leadership and political strategy.


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