The French Have Second Thoughts About The President

A poll that was released on Sunday has revealed that just over two-thirds of French voters aren’t happy with the way President Macron is running their country.

Of those voters who were surveyed by pollster Ifop for the conservative weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), just 34 percent said they “satisfied” with Macron’s actions as president, compared with 66 percent who said they were “dissatisfied”.

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During the Yellow Vest movement’s peak last December, Macron’s approval rating dipped to just 23 percent, matching that of his predecessor Francois Hollande’s at the end of 2013. Hollande is often viewed as the most unpopular president in modern French history.

The poll surveyed 988 French voters between August 21st and 22nd, following nine months of weekly Yellow Vest protests.

In April of last year, to quell the anger, Macron pledged significant tax cuts while calling for a return to public order. He said that tax cuts would amount to roughly 5 billion euros and would be paid for by removing corporate tax breaks, longer work hours, and by reducing public spending.

Although for now, the Yellow Vest protests may have fizzled out, pension and unemployment benefits remain hot issues that could potentially restart the protest movement.

During last weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, Macron looked to redirect media attention away from France’s domestic issues and onto Iran and Brazil. Whether he succeeded or not is another story.

This year’s G7 summit saw a particular intense spat between Macron and the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over a social media where Bolsonaro appeared to insult Macron’s wife. In response to the post, Macron called Bolsonaro extraordinarily rude.

At the end of the summit, Bolsonaro rejected $20 million in emergency aid offered by the G7 countries to counter fires in the Amazon. Bolsonaro initially said he would accept the aid money only after Macron apologized to him. He has since softened his stance and has said he will accept the money, suggesting that he’s dropped the demand for an apology.