French President Macron Facing Tough Times
French President Emmanuel Macron was only elected in May, and initially he had some very good photo-ops and lots of kudos. Unfortunately, the attaboys lasted about as long as butter on a Texas sidewalk in the summertime.
Poll Numbers Dropping Drastically
The youthful former investment banker and political outsider has seen his poll numbers slip 25 points in just three months.
He campaigned as a centrist, garnering support from both the left and the right, but as president, he’s embarked on a governing agenda that has angered all sides of the political spectrum.
For example, left-leaning voters hate that he’s trying to loosen a stultifying labor code (to get a handle on France’s high unemployment) and trim the country’s generous social safety net (his predecessor left him an unexpected $9.5 billion budget shortfall).
Civil servants hate that he’s vowed to freeze their salaries. Then there’s his move to enforce a tough new anti-terrorism law, which is hated by civil libertarians. And voters on the right hate that he fought over big cuts to the military budget with the head of France’s armed forces, who resigned as a result.
Can Macron Last?
Overall, his promise to whittle down the French state was bound to anger significant constituencies in a country where state spending is 56 percent of gross domestic product, the highest among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s advanced economies.
Ultimately, however, there are no significant political groups strong enough to stand in his way, and Macron has fierce champions in Parliament. So the best we can say is: “Fasten your seatbelts, mes amis, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”