Macron on brink: President faces ‘referendum’ as he drops in polls ahead of election

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French President Emmanuel Macron will be scrutinised in the French elections for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic as one expert said he is likely to face a “referendum”. Mr Macron faces fights in Paris, Marseille and Lyon where the Greens are expected to make gains. Mr Macron had hoped that local elections would provide the grassroots base that his young centrist party, LaRem, lacks ahead of his 2022 re-election bid.

Speaking to France 24, Mr Lees said: “I think in many ways it is a referendum on Macron and this is his first major test of his appeal to voters since the lockdown.

“The French people are gradually coming out of that process and it’s the first real challenge he’s faced for some time.

“We’re now three years into his term as President, he controls the national assembly and parliament in France so, it’s a real test of his authority across the country.

“Particularly the likes of Marseille and Lyon where surprising political parties like, the Greens, are really pushing to take those cities.

“That’s a real test for Macron.

“It’s also very noticeable in Paris that the socialist party is likely to win again in the next election.

“Very clear there that Macron’s own party has failed to make any sort of headway in Paris.

“Across the whole country, it’s very mixed.”

It comes as Mr Macron’s stand-in candidate for Sunday’s nationwide municipal elections, former health minister Agnes Buzyn, is polling more than 20 points behind Hidalgo, seemingly having lost ground since the first round in March.

One disgruntled LaRem lawmaker put it simply: “We had gold in our hands and we turned it to lead.”

LaRem’s campaign crumbled with the sting on Griveaux, but the seeds of defeat had been sown months earlier, with Griveaux’s selection.

The 42-year-old was one of the ‘Macron Boys’, the clique that helped propel the president to power. In July 2019, a LaRem committee picked him over Cedric Villani, an eccentric maths genius known for his spider brooches and silk cravats.


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But many saw Griveaux, who served as Macron’s first government spokesman, as arrogant and patronising.

When the video was posted – by a Russian protest artist whose girlfriend had lured Griveaux into sending the video – few in the party rallied round him.

“He wasn’t liked. Neither by the public, nor by party members,” said an official inside LaRem.

“The time has come when you have to say it like it is.”

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