Last week the French chairperson enjoyed luminary trips from Rihanna and Bono. But as political reality pierces, his ratings have begun to drop

A young captain processions to place promising sweeping change and buoyed by said that he hoped he will introduce a brand-new style of politics to change a rejected foundation. He seems to walk on water and to be in touch with his times as he introduces fresh life into international draws and invites pop suns to the official residence. Tony Blair 1997 or Emmanuel Macron 2017; Cool Britannia at Downing Street or, as we saw last week, Rihannaand Bonoat the lyse Palace to discuss world education and poverty.

But if it took half a dozen times for the Blair halo to lose its lustre, the French chairwoman is already facing negative mentions that he is a bit too good to be true, that he is proving too big for his boots and that his predicted new start for France will run aground on the familiar questions that stymied his precedes. Undeterred, nonetheless, by the review and falling ballot counts, Macron forged ahead last week with initiatives straying from nationalising the countrys biggest shipbuilder, STX France, to presiding at a session where Libyas two main rival governors agreed to call a ceasefire and hold elections, as his wife Brigitte bounded down the steps of the palace to greet Rihanna.

Three months after his poll became inevitable as he faced the rightwing Front Nationals Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential engagement, the inevitable is continuing to happen. The youngest of French chairpeople is growing involved whether he likes it or not in the everyday business of government. He says he wants to rule as a Jupiter operating above the political upheaval as he extradites thunderbolt judgements and educations. His prototype is Charles de Gaulle, who proved the semi-monarchical chairmen of the Fifth Republic in 1958 to enable him to rule above party separations in a way that would bring the French together behind his leadership.

It didnt work out quite like that for the general, who was forced into an unwanted run-off referendum at the 1965 presidential election and vacated four years later after losing a referendum election. In France, partisan political divisions and pressure from vested interests never go away. The interrogate is whether the president can gain enough support to transcend them, as De Gaulle did in the early years of the Fifth Republic, or whether the government has impose incidents, as has happened under Macrons three predecessors.

Macron
Tuesday: Macron agents a rally between warring cliques in Libya. Picture: Jacques Demarthon/ AFP/ Getty Images

As spring turned to summer, the former investment banker, whose previous government know-how consisted of two years as economy administrator under Franois Hollande after serving as an adviser, was going high-pitched. The luck he had enjoyed since launching his presidential expedition a year earlier, and the skill he pictured at inducing the most of it, supported as foes bickered and his gesture seemed the obvious answer to the hole in the middle of French politics.

His 65% score in the presidential run-off was followed by a sweeping succes for his new party Rpublique En Marche!( REM) at legislative elections where it acquired an overall majority in the National Assembly. The mainstream opposition parties, the Socialists and the centre-right Rpublicains were humbled and segmented. There was growling from the hard right and left of Marine Le Pens Front National and of Jean-Luc Mlenchons La France Insoumise( France Unbowed) and four ministers were forced to step down over allegations regarding misuse of funds or political fund chicanery. But the presidents approval rating in the polls rose from 62 to 64% in June as he set out his Jupiterian stall in a didactic manner reminiscent of De Gaulle on subjects arraying from African civilisation to Frances responsibility for the round-up of Jews in Paris in 1942.

Not content with domestic troubles, he sought to raise his countrys world-wide chart with a number of gathers with foreign leaders designed to ram home the message that France is back after the lacklustre Hollande presidency. The economy perked up in line with a general upswing in the eurozone.

France seemed a hard line on Brexit. Macron focused on constructing the relationship with Angela Merkel as an essential element in his ambitious plans for the process of reforming the eurozone. He received Vladimir Putin at Versailles, reading him a reading about Ukraine and Russian propaganda while indicating at a most flexible stance on Syria. Despite laying out his changes with Donald Trump on globalisation and climate change, the 39 -year-old president invited his 71 -year-old American counterpart to the Bastille Day parade on the Champs-lyses, where the visitor enjoyed the military forces prove but seemed nonplused when the Republican Guard separated into a synchronised routine while playing a medley of smacks by the French electronic duo Daft Punk that had Macron and the assembled dignitaries applauding their hands.

Then reality started to cast a shadow over the tycoon of the gods. His government began to implement practical steps to achieve aims he had laid out during his election campaign. Increasing the budget deficit to the EU target of 3% and manufacturing their own economies more competitive necessitates measures that may sound good on paper but are unpleasant when put into practice. Such as cutting the military budget by 850 m something that justification a huge public row and the abandonment of heads of state of the armed forces this month. Such as cutting casing gives and social security permits which triggered widespread complains, increased when the government unveiled a recommendation of part lifting of the property tariff. Such as the plan to loosen the labour laws to shorten place care motivating leagues to mobilise for street declarations in the autumn.

Macron and his ministers have their reasons. Liberalising the elephantine labour code to make it easier to fire staff in a decline should decrease the reluctance of employers to take over brand-new employees in an upturn. Hoisting the property levy on speculation should encourage rich person to sink coin into start-ups. But potential impacts, coupled with accusations from the opposition of presidential authoritarianism in dealing with the armed forces leader, the 60 -year-old Pierre de Villiers, helped to push Macrons opinion poll rating last week down 10 drawn attention to 54%, lower than either of his two precedes, Hollande or Nicolas Sarkozy at the same theatre of their presidencies.

Brigitte
Wednesday: Brigitte Macron responds Rihanna at the palace. Picture: Imago/ Barcroft Images

The ceasing of the honeymoon was inevitable, and Rihanna and Bono or the Republican Guard bopping on the Champs-lyses are not going to do much about it. If he is to keep his credibility , not just at home but likewise with the all-important partner in Berlin, Macron has to stick to his guns. He may be encouraged by the rise in economic raise and a fall in the long-running scourge of unemployment. By nationalising the countrys biggest shipyard last week to avoid an undesirable Italian merger and by talking of the EU exploiting European preference in government procurement programmes, the president is showing that as well as being a defender of free trade and globalisation, he too perpetuates the old Colbertist flash of looking after France first, which always plays well.

But gods ever have troubles dealing with mere souls, as De Gaulle found in the end. The sour feeling that gained soil in France over the past two decades should make it easier for Macron to implement the kind of changes he predicted, to modernise outdated organizes and free up the all-powerful government. But that requires a leap of faith from citizens who have been let down by consecutive heads of state since the mid-1 990 s.

Macron has to fight against that patrimony. Doing so may require some low-down politics as well as didactic entreaties as he faces the threat of a social takeover dtat from Mlenchon. The inquiry is whether the president represents a real passion for change from the essentially conservative route in which vested interests of left and right have repeatedly impeded progress and politicians have not been ready to peril unpopularity since Jacques Chirac retreated from the programme of reforms on which he was elected in 1995.

Or will Jupiter, extremely, quail? If he does , is not simply will republican France have won again, but Europe will be dampened. If he does not, his popularity will fall further, whoever he invites to the palace. As the country settles into its long summertime breach, the test facing the occupant of the lyse consider this to be the most important issue for Europe.

Jonathan Fenby is columnist of The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the War on Terror, and The General: Charles de Gaulle

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