France

December 9, 2019

Though President Emmanuel Macron managed to fend off a populist challenge led by Ma- rine Le Pen in 2017, his first term in office has been politically tumultuous. 

De Taurines explained how Macron’s economic policies were seen as too submissive to the needs of those with high incomes, which has resulted in the nickname “President of the rich.” 

Workers were furious after Macron gave corporations greater mobility to hire and fire employees resulting in protests demanding a reversal of the policy.

“A lot of controversy around him has been related to these alleged certain actions he has taken as a president that have benefited the rich,” de Taurines said.

In Winter 2018, a proposed fuel tax sparked an enormous backlash from those residing in rural regions, resulting in protests in Paris. Parisian police worked with the French military to quell the nearly 300,000 “Yellow Vest” protesters.

De Taurines explained how the Yellow Vests movement is fueled by an angry middle class, and with this, far right movements in France have gained support behind an anti-elite sentiment. 

De Taurines attributes Le Pen’s popularity to Macron’s struggles from the Yellow Vest movement.

“Marine Le Pen and her party are going to jump on every opportunity possible to profit off of this,” he said.

However, de Taurines said that combatting populism is possible should the government take the appropriate steps to do so.

“Make sure that people such as farmers in the middle of nowhere are actually heard. That’s one of the main target audiences for the populist movement in France – those that “have no voice,” he said.

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