‘ Even if it did not reach the landslide proportions anticipated, Macron’s latest electoral achievement is stunning.’ At 57% Abstentions! call this bourgeois political chatter worthy of The New York Times! With Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in that legislative body, potentially allied to those Abstainers is Macron’s Neo-Liberalism Lite in trouble? Or should we readers look to these telling examples of that, that exposes the myopia of a partisan? Never fear, you adroitly cover your ass with ‘This low participation is not to be over-interpreted:…’ !
There were few public meetings across France, and the opposition failed to mobilize its electorate against Macron, as highlighted by the record-high abstention. This low participation is not to be over-interpreted: it merely demonstrates that French parliamentary elections have essentially become a third, confirming round of the presidential contest.
Are the resignations of François Bayrou, Marielle de Sarnez and Sylvie Goulard indicative of both bad judgement and faulty leadership of King Macron?
The affairs had come as an embarrassment to Mr Macron, who campaigned on a promise to clean up French politics following a series of high-profile scandals over party payments and the hiring of family members. Mr Bayrou’s position as minister in charge of a new “moralisation” bill intended to raise ethical standards in politics had become untenable.
In light of the above, what of your claim:’This emphatic electoral victory is a personal triumph for Macron, whose popularity has soared since he entered the Élysée Palace. He has hardly put a foot wrong.’
Or should the reader look here?
Even the stogy Oxbridgers at The Economist hedge their Macron Triumphalism with their headline and this quote from Jean-Luc Mélenchon:
Headline: Emmanuel Macron wins a majority, though not a record one
Sub-headline:Despite low turnout, France’s president will have more than enough seats to carry out his agenda
‘Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left Unsubmissive France party, who won a seat in Marseille, declared that the low turnout rate constituted a “civic general strike” against the new president.’
See Arthur Beesley’s commentary on ‘the Jupitarian Politics of President Macron’:
Ms. Chassany’s contribution:
As for Macron as political/personal opportunist, see Simon Kuper’s essay of May 17,2017 titled ‘The chill behind Emmanuel Macron’s charm’ at The Financial Times:
Emmanuel Macron watches a smartphone video of an egg cracking on his forehead at a campaign event. He guffaws, then plays the video again. “It didn’t hurt. It came from a long way, did you see?” he marvels to his wife Brigitte and an aide. “The guy got lucky.”
The scene is from Emmanuel Macron, les coulisses d’une victoire (“Behind the scenes of a victory”)‚ a fly-on-the-wall documentary of his campaign that screened on French TV after he was elected president. It’s the most intimate portrait I’ve seen of a political leader. After the artificiality of the campaign, we’re starting to get to know Macron better. He’s a remarkable chap. But there is also something chilling about him. One man who knew him well for many years told me: “He seduces everyone. And then he kills.”
The key to Macron is that he is what the French call a grand séducteur. He quickly learnt that his charm could get him whatever he wanted. Almost every schoolboy fantasises about seducing his sexy high-school teacher. Macron did, even after Brigitte initially turned him down.
He also got used early to being the smartest person in the room. That doesn’t mean he has an original intellectual mind. He twice failed the entrance exams for the Ecole Normale Supérieure, France’s most cerebral “grande école”. But he’s a polymath who quickly absorbs everything from Rossini’s operas to Hegel. His father, a neurologist, had applied his brain more discreetly: his most cited academic article is on sneezing in cats. However, Macron’s charm required larger outlets. After writing his master’s thesis on Machiavelli, he got rich fast as a banker, then absorbed enough economics to be named finance minister.
Like his political ancestor Tony Blair, who walked into Downing Street 20 years ago this month, Macron is an actor at heart. (He met Brigitte when she taught him drama.) Watch the online video in which a journalist hands him a copy of Molière’s play The Misanthrope, a favourite of Macron’s, and suggests he mug up the opening scene so they can perform it together in a week. No, replies Macron, let’s do it right now. And he does, from memory: “Leave me, I beg of you . . . ” He also used to have ambitions of performing as a pianist.
There is so much more to be said of your Macron Triumphalist Press Release, but your final paragraph is a model of the expression of that Triumphalism, while praising the very obvious personal and political faults of The Great Leader!
In this respect too, Macron’s presidency marks a return to a hallowed French tradition: that of a gouvernement des esprits, embodying Cartesian reason and acting as the guardian of the general interest. This depoliticized ideal of a consensual civic order brings home the ultimate paradox of France’s latest political revolution: at a time when democratic cultures elsewhere are reverting to ideological polarization, Macron is steering his nation towards an era of moderate absolutism, with a resolve remniscent of Napoleon’s magnificent injunction: “il faut que je sois le centre”.
The pressing question: what is ‘moderate absolutism’ ?