French president faces mounting challenges amidst widespread discontent

French president faces mounting challenges amidst widespread discontent

French President Emmanuel Macron’s second presidential term has been plagued by a series of pitfalls, causing a notable decline in his popularity even before his five-year tenure comes to an end.

From the controversial reform of the retirement system that passed without a vote to the killing of a young man named Nael, sparking widespread urban protests against police violence across France, Macron’s government has faced mounting challenges.

A recent survey conducted by the “CSA” institute reveals that a substantial majority (70 percent) of French people lack confidence in his ability to ensure public order.

The poll, conducted on July 25 and 26, asked participants whether they trusted Emmanuel Macron’s ability to maintain public order.

The results show a significant gender difference, with 68 percent of males and 69 percent of females answering “no,” compared to only 32 percent and 31 percent answering “yes.”

Looking at different age groups, the survey found that people between the ages of 35-49 and 25-34 were the least trusting in the French president’s capacity to ensure public order, with 78 percent and 76 percent respectively answering “no.”

The age groups of 50 years and over (63 percent) and 65 and over (62 percent) also showed a lack of confidence in Macron’s abilities.

Among the youth groups aged 18 to 24, the results were more divided, with nearly 60 percent stating that they did not trust Macron to maintain public order.

The decline in trust and support for Macron can be seen as a reflection of the fractured state of French society, where politics has become a divisive and vulgar concept among various groups.

Maati Kabal, a Moroccan media writer residing in France, points out that violence has become ingrained in society, exemplified by movements like the “yellow vests” protests, demonstrations against pension reforms, and the recent wave of violent protests.

Kabal argues that civil society forces that once mediated between the French regime and the people no longer play an effective role.

This, coupled with a rising sense of resentment and desire for revenge among the youth in the suburbs due to police violence, has contributed to the prevailing fear within French society, leading to a dialectic of violence and counter-violence.

Hassan Balwan, a research professor in international relations, asserts that Macron’s declining popularity is a consequence of both domestic and foreign policy blunders.

He highlights the French people’s perception that they were forced to choose between bad and worse, with no appealing alternatives to Macron. The mix between the right and left that Macron aimed to achieve did not solve crucial issues, such as immigrant integration, impacting the principles of the French Revolution: freedom, equality, and fraternity.

Additionally, economic crises since the Covid pandemic have further damaged Macron’s reputation.

As a result, France’s image has suffered globally, and Paris has lost influence and hegemony in coastal countries to other international powers. This has significantly contributed to the loss of trust in Macron among the French population.


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