The opposition attacks Macron for the electoral use of his trip to Kyiv
With the recent visit of Emmanuel Macron to Ukraine, the first since the Russian invasion, the Elysée wanted to enhance the image of the president as a statesman, a few days before very difficult legislative elections at home. But, on the other hand, Macron has made himself vulnerable to the opposition’s attacks – and the ironies of the press – about the electoral instrumentalization of the trip to a war zone.
Sometimes a joke can be more hurtful than a thoughtful editorial. the humorist of You parisian yesterday published some caricatures of Emmanuel Macron and Volodímir Zelensky in which the former, in a suit, exclaims: “We will win, we will win!” “Thanks for the encouragement,” replies the Ukrainian leader, who wears his khaki shirt. “I’m not talking about you,” corrects the French president.
The pejorative term ‘macronear’, used in Poland, Ukraine and Russia, has already reached the French media
It is hard to avoid the feeling that Macron has abused his penchant for mise en scene, to the excessive theatricalization of everything he does, to the too studied image blows. He has been criticized by representatives of the leftist coalition, as well as the leader of the extreme right, Marine Le Pen, and the president of the Republicans (LR, right), Christian Jacob. All have accused him of instrumentalizing the situation.
The height of the mise en scene was his dramatic speech on Tuesday, from the Orly airport runway, with the official Airbus behind him, engines running, before leaving for Romania and Moldova, stops prior to his trip to Kyiv with Scholz and Draghi. Macron shamelessly mixed the international crisis with the French elections and called for “a solid majority” so as not to add a “French disorder” to the “world disorder”.
Macron’s media overexposure is a double-edged sword. Perhaps it translates into votes but it also wears out. Nobody has made so many calls to Vladimir Putin since the war began, with meager results. In France they are already echoing a pejorative term, macronear which was invented by Poles and Ukrainians and is also used in Russia to mock the French president. macronear It means, for those who introduced the neologism, a sterile diplomatic blah blah blah, to talk a lot without translating it into something tangible.
The French president himself, who gave an interview to the first public television channel (TF1) – another criticized decision – justified his trip by his duty to “protect our country” in the face of a crisis that is causing price rises and destabilizing vital markets such as that of energy, cereals and fertilizers.
The leader of the leftist coalition, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, also tried to take advantage of the situation, in his case the heat wave that is sweeping France and that has placed much of the country on alert. At the head of an alliance that includes environmentalists, Mélenchon warned that “if Macron wins, it will be catastrophic for climate change.” According to the candidate for prime minister of the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes), problems such as the current heat wave – 40 degrees Celsius is expected in Paris today – “cannot be fixed by the market or by supply and demand”. Therefore, it is urgent to “plan the (social and ecological) bifurcation of our economic model”.
In the second round of the legislative elections, which are held this Sunday, the 577 seats in the National Assembly must be renewed. The results of the first round and the projections of the polling companies anticipate that the Ensemble coalition (Together), which supports Macron, will have the largest number of deputies, ahead of Nupes, but the absolute majority is in the air.
Macron’s problem is that even if Ensemble wins a tight absolute majority, the stability of the legislature will not be guaranteed. Nupes’s large parliamentary group can put many procedural obstacles to government reforms, and Macron’s partners in Ensemble will not want to give him a blank check either because some of their leaders have their own political ambitions for the future.