Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Emmanuel Macron up in the polls following yellow vest ‘failure’ admission

As the French turn off weekly protests, the president’s popularity is crawling upwards

Fifty-five percent of French people want the gilet jaunes protests to halt, according to a new poll. Reuters
Fifty-five percent of French people want the gilet jaunes protests to halt, according to a new poll. Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron is experiencing a bump in the polls as the gilets jaunes protests rumble on and he admits his rhetoric has upset ordinary French people.

Mr Macron has recovered his popularity somewhat since the protests began, building from 27 percent believing him to be a “good president” at the end of last year to 32 percent in this month’s Odaxa poll of 1000 people.

In a new book recounting the rise of the gilets jaunes movement, which began over fuel tax and bloomed into a much larger protest on quality of life in France, the president said the movement was born out of “a gigantic collective failure” by the French establishment, in which he admitted his part.

He said the brash rhetoric of campaigning was not appropriate for a president in power.

“Once [I was] president, people didn’t take it as a conversation between equals… It was perceived as a form of humiliation,” he said in The People and the President.

He also spoke about reasons behind the unrest in the streets of Paris and other French cities.

“Lots of people were ashamed of their life, of not being able to make ends meet despite their best efforts,” the 41 year old said.

“We’re the ones who should be ashamed.”

Mr Macron’s fortunes are in stark contrast to support for the movement which has tested his popularity. Once backed by 80 percent of the public, the latest Odaxa survey found 55 percent of respondents want the protests to stop.

The protests are on their fifteenth weekend, but appear to be petering out as fewer people attend each week.

Updated: February 25, 2019 08:45 PM

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