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Expert comment, Macron reshuffle

Professor Ben Clift of the Department of Politics and International Studies comments on the news that the French Prime Minister has resigned, and explores what this means for President Macron's leadership and re-election chances:-

"After catastrophic local election results for his party, Macron faces a very delicate balancing. He has to embrace ecologism more to appease the ecologists who were the big local election winners. But for the 2022 presidential election he badly needs the centre right electorate. That is not an easy circle to square/coalition to sustain. That centre right electorate has, up to now, suspended their disbelief in Macron largely because of PM Edouard Philippe’s political credentials/background.

"Macron’s reshuffle, ditching a popular PM, is a gamble indicating how weak he is, how high the stakes are. He hopes centre right voters are mostly reassured that Macron still needs MoDem – a small centre right party. Furthermore, the mainstream right party has been leaderless for some time, in political disarray and financial trouble after successive poor results. The political space further to the Right is dominated / contaminated by Le Pen’s Rassemblement Nationale.

"Macron felt the need to change PM to give his administration a reboot – but it looks like petulance because the PM has been more popular than Macron. Macron is contemplating holding a national referendum on an ambitious environmental and social project which will dominate the last 2 years of his presidency. National healing post-COVID will include better pay for carers, public investments to protect jobs, greener transport, and prioritising French healthcare and food security through reduced reliance on imports."

Friday 3 July 2020