Macron on brink: French president crisis as support plummets – shock poll 

Express

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05 серпня 2019 18:28

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Only 22 per cent of those questioned in a YouGov poll between July 29 and 30 said they were satisfied with M Macron, down from 26 percent the previous month, according to the survey of 1,022 people for the Huffington Post. The French leader’s dissatisfaction rating increased by 4.35 percent: from 69 percent in YouGov’s previous survey to 72 percent. In addition, the number of people with a “favourable opinion of the government’s actions” dropped from 22 percent to 21 percent. However, a separate poll by Harris Interactive for the French news channel LCI published last week found that 41 percent of French people have a positive opinion of M Macron, up one percentage point in one month.

Harris pollsters said M Macron’s trust rating had increased by 10 percentage points in seven months, a sign his government could be on the road to recovery following nearly a year of protests that have undermined its credibility.   M Macron has seen his reputation both at home and abroad take a beating over his failure to quell the weekly yellow vest protests against high living costs and what demonstrators see as elitism from the political establishment. The first yellow vest rallies were held in mid-November to contest planned fuel tax hikes, but rapidly ballooned into a broader protest movement decrying the Macron government as pro-rich and out of touch with the struggles faced by the country’s working class.

Protests in Paris in early December turned particularly violent, with the Arc de Triomphe defaced and avenues off the Champs-Elysées suffering mass vandalism and looting. The nationwide uproar forced the Macron government to abandon the fuel tax and budget an extra £9.2 million (€10 bn) to help the poorest workers and pensioners. M Macron also promised further cuts to income tax, stressing these would be matched euro-for-euro by cuts in public spending to keep the budget deficit from spiralling out of control. The generous concessions made to protesters in recent months have raised questions abroad over his ability to transform the French economy and social system, and put a dent in his reformist image. But the Macron government has rejected such claims, insisting that its reformist drive remains intact despite the stubborn street rebellion.

In June, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe admitted that errors had been made in the handling of the yellow vest crisis, but said it was time to relaunch Mr Macron’s reform agenda with what he called an “Act II”. M Philippe said the government would create incentives for the French to work beyond the minimum retirement age of 62, and reiterated his intention to simplify France’s complex pensions system to make it fairer.The country’s unwieldy unemployment benefits system will also undergo a radical overhaul in the coming months.  While the yellow vest movement has hit its lowest ebb in numbers and public support, the pensions and unemployment benefits systems are hot-button issues that may reignite simmering popular anger. The Harris Interactive poll of 930 people was carried out online between July 23-25.

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