International

100 days in office, French President Macron’s approval rating drops to 36 pct


PARIS, Aug. 16– The popularity of French President Emmanuel
Macron, who celebrated Tuesday his 100 days in office, has dropped to a
historical low, recent polls showed.

President Macron’s approval rating dropped to 36 percent, a historical
low for a French president’s 100 days in modern era. His unpopularity rate
is 10 points higher than his predecessor Francois Hollande, according to an
Ifop poll published last Friday. This was a sharp contrast with the 66.10
percent votes Macron obtained in the general elections on May 8, 2017. The
fall of his approval rating can be partly explained by the budgetary
savings for 2017 initiated by the government, the departure of several
ministers and the implementation of a project to moralize the country’s
political life.

What originally caused the decline in his popularity was the reforms
initiated by the government, especially the reduction of housing subsidies
of 5 euros per month starting from October. “We need to undertake a
comprehensive reform of personal housing subsidies, which is absolutely
essential because we are dealing with amounts to be mastered but above all
with structural reforms to be put in place,” Jacques Mezard, Minister of
Territorial Cohesion, told French radio station RTL in late July. The
announcement has triggered debates in France. For the opponents as well as
a large number of French, the government attacks the poorest by lowering
this aid.

Housing aid cost France 20 billion euros (23.47 billion U.S. dollars)
last year, according to official figures. French Prime Minister Edouard
Philippe has stressed the importance of reducing the housing aid cost,
saying “we spend twice as much as our European neighbors on housing
assistance.” Meanwhile, Macron’s plan to trim defense budget spending by
850 million euros (980.4 million U.S. dollars) to help the nation meet the
deficit target of 3 percent met opposition of France’s most senior armed
forces chief Pierre de Villiers, who resigned in July. “Under the current
circumstances I see myself no longer able to guarantee the robust defense
force I believe necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the
French people, today and tomorrow, and to sustain the aims of our country,”
de Villiers said in a statement.

In an interview with the French journal Le Figaro, Jerome Fourquet,
director of the opinion and strategy department of the French Institute of
Public Opinion, contributed the fall of the approval rating of the French
president to those reforms he undertook.”From the general policy speeches
and the announcements of the cuts in various ministries, the comet of
Macron has returned to the atmosphere. We are then struggling with the
reality which is complicated, because there are arbitrages to take, means
are narrow, and therefore discontent is generated, “said Mr. Fourquet.The
scandals involving several ministers of the government also damaged the
image of the new team in public opinion, and therefore caused the sharp
decline in the popularity rating of Emmanuel Macron.

The Minister of Territorial Cohesion Richard Ferrand, one of the
faithful of Macron, is accused of having favored in 2011 his wife in a real
estate market while he was director general of the Mutuelles de Bretagne
and having hired his son in 2014 as a parliamentary collaborator while he
was a socialist deputy.The opposition quickly made it parallel with the
so-called Penelopegate affair. Mr. Ferrand ended up by resignation,
followed later by his colleagues of the Army, Sylvie Goulard; European
Affairs, Marielle de Sarnez and Justice, Francois Bayrou. These
resignations took place at a time when the government was preparing to
implement one of its campaign promises: the moralization of political life.- XINHUA