French weekly magazines review 9 September 2018
Cabinet resignations keep President Macron under pressure as he struggles with his lowest approval rating and rising anger over slow economic growth and job creation.
This week's minor cabinet reshuffle dominates the news as the commentators underline the difficulty President Macron encountered especially in finding a replacement for the "impetuous" environmental activist at the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition.
Roxana Maracineanu, a swimming silver medallist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was appointed to take over as Sports Minister, taking over from former Olympic fencing champion, Laura Flessel who stepped down citing "personal reasons"
But French investigative website Mediapart reported that tax inspectors were looking into whether Flessel under reported the earnings of the company she and her husband set up to manage her image rights.
Le Canard Enchaîné says Monsieur Hulot's resignation did Macron more harm than the good the President expected on his appointment considering that another maverick Daniel Cohn-Bendit short-listed as first choice turned down the offer.
Le Canard satirizes about the embarrassment Cohn-Bendit caused Emmanuel Macron claiming that he finally settled for the grateful and disciplined National Assembly President Francois de Rugy, a former Greens party member as a consolation prize.
Left-leaning l'Obs says it is a reluctantFrançois de Rugy that accepted to leave the prestigious job which he held for only a year. The left-leaning publication recalls that hours after Hulot's resignation, de Rugy made known his desire to keep the National Assembly job.
L'Obs quotes a fellow Greens MP who reacted to De Rugy's appointment with cynicism. Despite his ecological CV he noted, de Rugy will be loyal after being so disloyal to his party's cause in parliament by defending a capitalist vision of ecology.
The left-leaning l'Obs, also points out that the de Rugy option had many advantages, as he relinquishes a job much sought after.
Some magazines are quick to tie the resignations to President Macron's tumble in the polls as his approval ratings fell to 31 percent in September, according to an IFOP poll -- the lowest level since he took office in May 2017.
Such is the case of Le Point. The right wing publication holds that Macron seems to be the problem. It holds that this may be the beginning of the end after just one year in office.
The problem according to Le Point is not about his policies but his personality which is too Parisian while the French people are not. "The French like Presidents who they identify with", say's Le Point.
The weekly adds a reality check to its verdict. If Macron is more unpopular today than his predecessor Francois Hollande was during the same period of his mandate, it argues, it is because he hasn’t delivered any results in terms of economic growth and job creation.
Marianne says Macron's political woes are caused by his so-called ideological policies which are squeezing pensioners dry and favouring notably the explosion of inequality and the breaking of collective rights".
According to the left-leaning weekly, it is evident in Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's "tiny 0.3 percent revaluation of retirement pensions, at a time inflation is running at 1.7 percent.
Marianne says it is the very first time a French government has lowered pensions by using price hikes to reduce the public deficit.
The weekly also explains the ravages in figures. In two years, it says, the loss of purchasing power reached 7 billion euros slowing down consumption which represents 60 percent of France's Gross Domestic Product.
L'Express pops a question, it claims is bugging minds about Emmanuel Macron's real personality -- does he see himself as a new De Gaulle?
The right-wing publication discusses the issue with Sudhir Hazareesingh, professor specializing on French culture at Oxford University and author of "In the Shadow of the General: Modern France and the Myth of De Gaulle".
He says Macron benefitted like General Charles de Gaulle did in 1958 from the implosion of the previous administration.
But Professor Harazeesingh doesn't believe Macron can repeat the fundamental transformation of French institutions and political culture which the General did during his time.
He tells L’Express that Emmanuel Macron, for the moment, seems to content himself with incarnating the figure of a typical Gaullist.
On the French leader’s record on foreign policy, Professor Hazareesingh advises President Macron to speak his mind and stop wasting his time trying to cajole the dangerous Donald Trump.
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