Recent days have shown that Emmanuel Macron has been losing power. Many people have suggested, that if he loses too much, he will have to hold early elections. This issue emerged after another group of members within his party defected, which has led to a loss of his parliamentary majority. With the recent defections, as well as the riots and protests becoming a common thing within his nation, many believe that Macron’s LaREM party will be out of power sooner than expected.
Emmanuel Macron, the current leader of France, was elected into power after beating his rival, Marine Le Pen, for the role of president. She was the leader of the right wing anti-EU party, National Front. Macron ran on a platform of reforming France’s economic system with deeper integration into the European Union. When he first came into power, he stated that he would do all he could for France, even if that meant pushing it in the ‘right direction’. His critics stated at the time that this was “something a ‘wannabe’ king would say”.
After his victory, Macron went to work on reforming France – in his own words, it was time for modernisation and he needed to make France economically competitive again. With his large victory over Marine Le Pen and his plans to push France even closer to the European Union, many media outlets praised him and called him the ‘next leader of Europe’, the ‘new Angela Merkel’ and ‘the counter to populism’.
However, not soon after that, things started to take a darker path for the new leader. With some of his early reforms already causing upset within his Government and the military. With one of his new bills affecting the budget and intruding into the defence spending causing a fallout between Macron and General Pierre de Villiers, the head of the Military. This culminated into the resignation of his military chief and the military as well as the people starting to lose their belief in the new leader of France.
Things didn’t stop there – the next wave of reforms led to an increase in the retirement age, which caused an uproar across France with the French people starting to see his actions as anti working class. This became clearer to many unions when, after the increase in the retirement age to save money, he then cut taxes for businesses. These actions have led to many groups and the unions to start organizing protests across the country.
In hind sight, this was just a sign of what was to come with increases in fuel tax as part of the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions. The fuel tax was the last straw for many people across the country and on the 17th November 2018, protests and even riots erupted all over France and are still going on in some form today. The protesters soon gained the nickname of ‘yellow vests’ named after their signature clothing during protests. Their noticeable look and the momentum of the protests inspired similar movements across the western world which led to a diplomatic strain between France and countries with yellow vest protests.
If these protests were not themselves a big enough challenge to overcome, more violent incidents have since taken place between members of the public and the police. North African communities in France have ignited more public disobedience and riots. In the latest clash that started an outrage, a police officer opened his door and a cyclist crashed into it. Police have stated that this was an accident but the leaders of the communities are refuting this. This is just one case amongst many between the police and the North African communities which have led to clashes.
All of these events have undermined Emmanuel Macron’s reign over France and now’ with Covid-19 crippling the world’s economy, many members of his own party have decided to defect to the opposition party which has resulted in him losing his outright majority. This has led to many people wondering how long this man has left in office. Ideas of an early election have been fueled even more by their deteriorating opinion of the man and his leadership throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Macron has struggled to keep his nation’s people off the street which has only fueled his presentation as a failed leader; something he or his supporters could not have envisaged. From the start of his campaign for office he wanted to be the ‘man who reformed France and strengthened the European Union’. He wished to lead France to a better future and used his power and acted as a king in some regards when it came to making his reforms. But now, one can only wonder what he think as he drops down in the polls, losing more of his own party members to other parties. Does he believe that he can turn things around or has he judged his place in history to be a failure by his own standards?