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The French opinion research institute  Ifop shows that only 36% of voters are satisfied with Emmanuel Macron.
The French opinion research institute  Ifop shows that only 36% of voters are satisfied with Emmanuel Macron.

Macron’s Popularity Rate Sinking

Macron’s Popularity Rate Sinking

He is the youngest president in the history of the Fifth Republic, and is popular abroad. Yet Emmanuel Macron has earned mixed reviews at home in the first 100 days after his election. DW looks at his presidency so far.

  Popularity
The electoral honeymoon is over. Now, 100 days after his election, people in France are much more critical of Emmanuel Macron. The French opinion research institute Ifop shows that that only 36% of voters are satisfied with their president. That makes Macron worse off after his first 100 days than his unpopular predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy (66%) and Francois Hollande (55 %). This is alarming for Macron. Dissatisfaction has clearly grown in recent weeks, and the press has taken notice of his sinking approval rating.
Apart from actual reforms, the 39-year-old president’s personality, which comes across as authoritarian, has drawn criticism. Macron’s public dispute with head of the French armed forces Pierre de Villiers, which resulted in the latter’s resignation, did not make a good impression.

  Budget: Painful cuts
After years of violating the rules, France wants to regain credibility in the EU. This was also one of Macron’s major election campaign issues. But in order to meet the Maastricht criteria later this year, state spending will have to go down. Defense budget cuts are targeted, as are grants for France’s regions and departments.
But that is not enough; the government has also decided to slash social programs. A monthly 5 euro reduction of housing subsidies for people in need, to take effect in October, has unleashed a violent storm of protests that certainly doesn’t help the president’s poor approval rating.
Another unpopular measure is the increased social security contribution (CSG). This measure will hit retirees unfavorably, as they have no means of reducing their taxes. With an early retirement age of 62 years and large pensions when compared internationally, this part of society has been among the most privileged in France to date.

 Europe
Macron campaigned for France’s own European finance minister and its own budget in the eurozone. Until Germany’s September national election, however, nothing will happen in this area. There will probably be some movement when the new government in Berlin has been formed. The president’s self-confidence on the Brussels stage and his dealings with the foreign heads of state and government are generally well received by the people.

 

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