France's new president and prime minister have the lowest public confidence levels for French leaders starting their terms in at least the last 20 years, a poll found yesterday.
Some 45 percent of voters said they trusted in centrist President Emmanuel Macron's ability to tackle France's problems, while 36 percent trusted his newly appointed prime minister, Edouard Philippe, a conservative, the Elabe poll showed.
"This result shows an unprecedented situation ... there is no grace period for the president," Elabe said in a note. Macron, a 39-year-old former economy minister, said before his election this month that he expected no honeymoon.
The poll shows that despite his comfortable 66-34 percent victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the May 7 election, Macron still has to convince many voters of his ability to confront France's social and economic problems.
By contrast, Socialist President Francois Hollande had confidence ratings of 58 percent when he took office in May 2012, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy 59 percent in 2007, Jacques Chirac 53 percent when re-elected in 2002 and 61 percent when he was first elected in 1995. Past prime ministers' ratings stood at between 50 and 59 percent at those same dates. The poll of 999 people was conducted on May 16-17.
The survey's findings are in line with a Harris Interactive poll on election day which found that 59 percent of Macron's voters had chosen him primarily to stop Le Pen winning.
After the independent Macron trounced establishment parties in the presidential election, Macron has tried to carefully balance the government between left and right, women and men, new faces and political heavyweights.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and new French leader Emmanuel Macron discussed boosting poor ties between Paris and Moscow in their first phone conversation, the Kremlin said yesterday. The Kremlin said in a statement the presidents agreed to "jointly work on current international and regional issues, including the fight against terrorism."
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