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Macron's early election gamble in France resurfaces old criticism that he's arrogant – NBC Los Angeles

Macron's early election gamble in France resurfaces old criticism that he's arrogant – NBC Los Angeles


  • French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to call early elections after the far-right National Rally party won more than double the votes of his centrist alliance was greeted with surprise, dismay and more than a little bewilderment in France.
  • Macron's critics say the move is that of a “desperate” president taking a gamble with France's future.
  • Macron has been accused of being arrogant and out of touch with reality in the past.

French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to call early elections after the far-right National Rally party won more than double the votes of his centrist alliance has been met with surprise, dismay and more than a little bewilderment.

It also resurfaced long-standing criticism of Macron, particularly from political commentators and opponents, who view the president as arrogant, ego-driven and, perhaps most worryingly their eyes, as a leader ready to put the stability of France at stake in what is underway. considered a “huge political gamble”.

For his part, Macron said holding early elections would bring clarity after the European Parliament elections, in which the NR party won around 31% of the votemore than double the 14.6% for the centrist, pro-European alliance that included Macron's Renaissance Party.

In a national speech Sunday eveningas he announced his decision to dissolve Parliament, Macron told voters that he had “heard” their concerns and that he “would not leave them unanswered… France needs a clear majority to act in serenity and harmony,” he said. he added. The first round of voting will take place on June 30 and the second on July 7.

Analysts said Macron's decision was probably a tactical gamblewith the president hoping that 1) the defeat in the European parliamentary elections was the result of a protest vote rather than a deeper dissatisfaction with his leadership and 2) that the prospect of a power takeover by the The far right will mobilize the centrist electorate to vote for their party to prevent NR from obtaining an absolute majority in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

He is also believed to hope that even if the NR performs well and he has to appoint a party member as Prime Minister (with NR leader Jordan Bardella being the likely candidate in such an eventuality, known as the name “cohabitation” in France), the party will fail to impress voters if it plays a leading role in French politics, and will fail in the 2027 presidential election.

“Desperate” president, risky “gamble”

Some Macron critics and political commentators have, however, been less than impressed by Macron's decision and strategy, with some saying it makes Macron look arrogant. an accusation brought against him by his detractors in previous years and as a man ready to gamble with the future of the country.

The left-wing newspaper Libération called calling early elections an “extreme gamble”, while the center-right newspaper Le Figaro headlined on Monday: “Shock” (“shock”). The article continued with an editorial in which the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Alexis Brzet, declared that “the earthquake was expected, the aftershock seemed unthinkable.”

Brzet warned that Macron “was taking the risk of entrusting the reins of power… to the party whose progress he had promised to stem! This unprecedented decision is, for the country, a leap into the unknown whose consequences are incalculable.” He suggested that Macron had decided to call early elections because he had been personally humiliated by the result of the European elections, saying that as a result “Macron decided to go all out!”

Jérôme Fenoglio, editorial director of the popular newspaper Le Monde, also criticized the decision: describing French citizens as “the stakes” in “a desperate president’s risky gamble.”

“The problem is above all that the player [Macron] lost his lead. This happened well before the humiliation of the results of the European elections, in which Macron's Renaissance party obtained half as many votes as the far-right National Rally… The campaign only concentrated this mixture of arrogance and clumsiness that disgusts many voters ready to turn to a protest vote,” Fenoglio wrote Monday.

He described Lyse Palace's “initial explanations…to justify this dissolution as a mixture of bluff and self-persuasion.” In the meantime, other commentators and newspapers, such as Les Echos, described Macron's decision as a poker game.

CNBC has contacted Lyse Palace for a response to the comments and is awaiting a response.

“Personal and institutional” reasons

The adage goes that it takes years to build a good reputation and minutes to destroy it. Macron has been accused of elitism, obnoxiousness and arrogance during his presidency.

In 2017, the expensively suited Macron sparked controversy by describing opponents of his labor reforms are called “lazy” (it has become a rallying cry for protesters) and be seen as out of touch with voters' concerns about immigration, housing and the cost of living. He was frequently accused of being a defender of the rich and a “president of the rich.” an accusation that fueled the “yellow vest” protests of 2018 and 2019. Macron's supporters defend the president as a self-made and ambitious man who has a direct way of speaking to voters.

Whether deserved or not, Macron's reputation for arrogance has been difficult to shake. Robert Ladrech, professor emeritus of European politics at Keele University, told CNBC on Monday that Macron's latest election call “could be seen as arrogant for two reasons.” [both] personal and institutional. »

“First, he interpreted the vote for the European Parliament as a personal insult, as a rejection of his domestic policy direction. His immigration policy had already “hardened” recently, and he mentioned the year last that a “pause” in the EU climate could be considered “It's a good policy. These two nods to the RN electorate seem to have had no impact, if indeed the vote is a referendum on him,” he noted.

“Second, a French president has already dissolved Parliament just a few years into his term to call new elections, according to conservatives. [former] President Chirac in 1997, hoping to expand his majority. He blew it up, forced to “cohabit” with a left-wing prime minister, Jospin. So, in any case, it's a gamble on Macron's part: arrogance if he thinks he can “win”, and arrogance if he thinks that a victory for the RN can take his breath away by the presidential election of 2027.”

Macron's political opponents are far from impressed, except, of course, the NR itself, which was buoyed by its surge in the legislative elections and welcomed the opportunity to increase its vote share. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she was “stunned” by Macron’s decision.

“Like many people, I was stunned to hear the president decide to dissolve (Parliament),” she said of Macron's surprise announcement on Sunday. calling the decision to do so just weeks before the Paris Olympics “extremely troubling.”




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