More than half of French dissatisfied with Macron, poll says

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
PARIS
Published 27.08.2017 15:01
Updated 27.08.2017 15:02
French President Emmanuel Macron reacts during a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov at Euxinograd residence, near Varna, Bulgaria, Aug. 25, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
French President Emmanuel Macron reacts during a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov at Euxinograd residence, near Varna, Bulgaria, Aug. 25, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

French President Emmanuel Macron's popularity rating slumped a further 14 points in August to hit 40 percent, following a sharp 10-point drop the previous month, according to a poll released Sunday.

The poll, conducted by Ifop for newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), showed Macron's "dissatisfaction rating" rising to 57 percent, from 43 percent in July.

Forty percent expressed satisfaction with the centrist leader - down 14 points from July.

Macron has seen his popularity plunge 22 points since the first Ifop poll published three months ago, when he enjoyed a rating of 62 percent just after his May 7 election win.

French government spokesman Christophe Castaner said the ruling party was going through a tricky time, but added that displeasing some people was a price worth paying if the government wanted to push through reforms.

"Yes, we are encountering difficulties, but you cannot just spend your time only looking at polls when you're in government. We are there to transform the country. Our country needs us to take risks, and we are taking risks," Castaner told BFM TV.

Macron, who is midway through a schedule of official visits to various European capitals, has suffered a number of setbacks since being elected, including tough debates in parliament over labour reform, a standoff with the military and cuts to housing assistance.

Social media commentators and political opponents criticised the president after it emerged he spent 26,000 euros ($31,000) on makeup during his first 100 days in office and his office also backed down on plans to give his wife a formal, paid role after a public backlash.

Bernard Sananes, head of French polling company Elabe, said the latest survey could encourage Macron's political opponents, after his party won a commanding majority in parliament.

"It could mean, for the government, that the opposition mobilises itself again," Sananes told BFM TV.

The Ifop poll showed the cumulative drop in Macron's popularity ratings since May was bigger than that of previous Socialist president Francois Hollande over the same period.

At this point in 2012, his predecessor Hollande had a popularity rating of 54 percent while Nicolas Sarkozy boasted an even higher 67 percent in 2007.

The poll also showed a drop in popularity for Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, with 47 percent expressing satisfaction with him - down 9 points from last month.

Macron, France's youngest leader since Napoleon, faces a big test next month when the far-left CGT trade union leads a rally to protest against plans to deregulate the jobs market.

"Now is the key time, with the labour executive orders to be presented," said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Geneva-based investment firm Prime Partners, who has an "underweight" position on French equities.

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