French media reported yesterday that a government reshuffle was looming as President Emmanuel Macron seeks to recover from a difficult summer amid poor polling figures.
The French newspaper Le Figaro and broadcaster FranceInfo reported that a wider reshuffle was on the cards, as reported by dpa. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe visited Macron in the Elysée Palace yesterday morning, broadcaster BFMTV reported.
Last week, Macron was left scrambling to fill another key cabinet post after Interior Minister Gerard Collomb announced his resignation. He is the third minister to quit Macron's government since August, following ex-environment minister Hulot and former sports minister Laura Flessel.
Macron struggled through a major scandal this summer over revelations that his former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla roughed up protesters while wearing a police helmet. Collomb became embroiled in the affair after it emerged he knew about the incident but decided it was not his job to inform prosecutors. Benalla has since been charged with assault.
President Macron reshuffled his cabinet earlier this month after his two ministers announced their resignation. The cabinet shuffle comes as Macron is trying to rebound from his lowest approval ratings since taking office in May 2017. An IFOP-Fiducial opinion poll yesterday showed just 31 percent of respondents were happy with his performance as support eroded across all ages on both the political left and right. That is lower than his predecessor Francois Hollande at the same stage in the socialist's presidency. Hollande went on to become so unpopular he was the first president in France's Fifth Republic not to run for re-election.For much of Macron's first year in power, the former investment banker appeared untouchable, self-assured by his falling popularity as he pushed through investor-friendly reforms with business-like efficiency. Recently, however, Macron has looked more vulnerable. Economic growth is slower than forecast, undermining his deficit-busting credentials. Unemployment is no longer coming down. Usually decisive, Macron is wavering on an impending tax collection reform.