‘Danger on his right’ Macron leadership bid under threat as ‘fickle’ voters to decide fate

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Macron, who has been aggressively campaigning for the French elections scheduled in April must not forget France’s way of choosing the leader, writes Charles Bremner in an opinion piece for The Times. Sharing a detailed history of French elections, Mr Bremner warned Macron to look at the red signal that comes from the right win

He writes: “This time, Macron, 44, who is now campaigning again in all but name, is lumbered as the outgoing chief rejected as a failure by nearly 70 percent of the voters.

“He faces no threat from the left, which ruled for 14 years from 1981 under Mitterrand but has collapsed after the Hollande debacle. The danger lies on his right.”

The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will be held on April 10.

The incumbent President of France is Emmanuel Macron of La République En Marche! (LREM), who won the 2017 election and whose first term lasts until May 13.

The incumbent is eligible for reelection to a second five-year term according to the Constitution of France.

Talking about his early career, Mr Bremner said: “He initially adopted a style as a towering, ‘Jupiterian’ ruler, as he called it, but the magic faded and discontent boiled over in late 2018 with the Yellow Vest movement, a provincial uprising which focused contempt on Macron specifically rather than his government or party.”

He continued: “That President Macron will succeed in doing so is being touted as the most likely outcome of April’s elections because he has maintained a strong lead in opinion polls for months.

“The assumption fails, however, to take into account the deeply volatile nature of France’s elections when it comes to the curious institution of the presidency.”

Explaining the nature of France politics, Mr Bremner said that “French politics have over the decades become more like those of the country’s neighbours but the president still commands, the prime minister remains a steward, and parliament obeys.”

One of the contenders against Macron is Éric Justin Léon Zemmour, a French far-right politician, political journalist, essayist, writer and pundit.

He was editor and panelist on Face à l’Info, a daily show broadcast on CNews, from 2019 to 2021.

Mr Bremner said: “For a moment in the autumn, polls showed Zemmour, who claims to be a successor to de Gaulle while defending his wartime pro-Nazi enemies, within range of beating Macron, but he has fallen back to fourth place.

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“If he (Macron) wins again, however, he will have broken with the long tradition of fickle voters turning against their elected monarch.”

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