Emmanuel Macron, France’s youngest president who dreamed big, faces a power drain

Emmanuel Macron, France’s youngest president who dreamed big, faces a power drain
Emmanuel Macron, France’s youngest president who dreamed big, faces a power drain

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PARIS.- French President Emmanuel Macron’s political future appears headed for failure after a parliamentary election that threatens to paralyse the country, weaken its standing abroad and cast a shadow over its legacy, just as France prepares to step into the world spotlight as host of the Paris Olympics.

He youngest president in the country’s history He is known on the international stage for his incessant diplomatic efforts and his initiatives in favour of Europe. Now, many are wondering How will he manage to keep the reins of the country? faced with the possibility of losing the parliamentary majority and facing a confrontational government.

Macron, 46, who is constitutionally prohibited from running for a third consecutive term, is fighting to avoid becoming a president who must remain in office with no greater aspirations than to finish his term.

The French press recently referred to the atmosphere in the presidential palace as “the end of a reign”.

Macron voted in a centre decorated with the colours of FranceMOHAMMED BADRA – POOL

Polls showed Macron’s centrist alliance was doomed in Sunday’s election after finishing third in the first round. However, it came second behind the left-wing New Popular Front coalition, a swing in the polls that once again blocks Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party from coming to power.

With the new political scenario, Macron will no longer be able to implement its own agendawhich has been based on pro-business policies with the aim of boosting the national economy.

“We are facing the unknown. The truly unknown,” said political analyst Dominique Moisi. “Because coalition governments are not a French tradition.

Abroad, Macron has often portrayed himself as a leading player known for his relentless diplomatic activism. He has been deeply involved in the West’s efforts to support Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022. In the Middle East, France has been boosting diplomatic efforts with its Arab allies. Earlier this year, Macron also outlined his vision for the European Union, urging the 27-nation bloc to bolster its defenses and implement drastic trade and economic reforms to compete with China and the United States.

The French Constitution grants the president certain powers in matters of foreign policy, European affairs and defence. But The division of powers with a prime minister from a rival party remains unclearand without a government to back him, Macron’s role could be limited.

Macron stunned the country and angered many of his political allies and supporters when he called for the snap election after the RN’s victory in last month’s European parliamentary vote. Whatever the final result, His political agenda seems dead, three years before the end of his presidency.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a video conference within the Seoul 2024 AI Summit from the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.Yoan Valat – EPA POOL

“Our country is going through a serious crisis, we are just a few hours away from a new order,” said engineer Pascal Cuzange, who voted for Macron’s alliance more as a protest against the alternatives than in support of the president. “There is a risk that the country will become ungovernable.”

France’s business elite is also anxious about the risk of volatile politics and instability ahead. “We are very worried about what is going to happen,” said Ross McInnes, chairman of the aerospace company Safran. “Whatever political configuration emerges from Sunday’s vote, we are probably at the end of a cycle of reforms that began ten years ago.”

Initially elected in 2017, Macron He was at that time a successful newcomer in politics. at just 39 years old.

He tried to make the labor market more flexible and passed new measures to make it harder for the unemployed to collect benefits. His government also cut corporate taxes to encourage hiring.

Anti-government protests by the yellow vests soon erupted, demonstrating against perceived social injustice, leading to Macron being dubbed the “president of the rich.” Many still perceive him as arrogant and distant from the people. His opponents on the left accused him of gutting worker protections.

Macron said unemployment had fallen from 10% to 7.5% and France had been ranked in recent years as the most attractive European country for foreign investment.

On political issues, the centrist leader launched his own party with the promise of doing a better job than the conventional right and leftBut that too now seems doomed to failure. His decision to call early elections in fact gave impetus to two major forces: National Reunion and a broad leftist coalition.

Macron was re-elected in 2022, beating far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a second consecutive runoff election. But he lost his parliamentary majority, even though his centrist alliance won the largest share of seats in the National Assembly.

AP and Reuters agencies

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