‘French people HATE him’ How Macron’s own party fear election drubbing

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The damning warning was made in February as figures from President Macron’s La Republique En Marche defected from the party.

Bruno Bonnell, a member of the French Assembly and En Marche ally, claimed people in France “literally hate” the president and even hinted at electoral losses in 2022.

He told the Financial Times in February: “The biggest risk is that while we would have Macron leading the country in 2022, it would be with a completely different make-up of the National Assembly and the Senate.

“But that is the price to be paid for the development of democracy.”

Ahead of the local elections earlier this year, En Marche had already lost 14 representatives in the National Assembly.

Opinion polls at the time showed that less than one-third of the French viewed Mr Macron favourably, and voters in the municipal elections are expected to hand unprecedented gains to Marine Le Pen and her far-right Rassemblement National as well as to the greens on the left.

As the Financial Times reported in February, the perception among leftwing demonstrators that Mr Macron is a neoliberal “president of the rich” sapped the confidence of the large number of Socialists who abandoned their political home and lent their support to his “neither left nor right” movement back in 2017.

Vincent Martigny, a political scientist, said: “LREM (En Marche) is a movement that revolves around its leader and whose political positions are very unclear, except that it’s liberal.

“A whole current in the party thinks it’s going too far . . . They thought Macron represented continuity for [former Socialist president] François Hollande’s social democracy — and it’s not that at all.”

One of the first figures to leave Mr Macron’s party, Matthieu Orphelin, said at the time “there have been many defections”.

He added: “There was a syndrome of us all being very well behaved because we didn’t want to cause problems for the government, but today there are lots of members of parliament who don’t want to play that role.”

The conclusion of the local elections is yet to be made as the coronavirus has disrupted local votes.

The French government is considering holding the final round of mayoral elections at the end of June or redoing the elections completely in January 2021, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told all party leaders in May.

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Mr Macron came under intense criticism for his handling of the coronavirus crisis after France became one of the world’s worst hit countries.

But since public satisfaction in the government’s response slumped to 36 percent in the second half of March, it has climbed steadily back to 42 percent for a net fall of 14 points.

Meanwhile his personal approval rating stands at 44 percent, relatively high by French presidential standards.

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