PARIS – Barely ten – eight months of his inauguration at the head of the French state, president Emmanuel Macron entered, since the summer, in a zone of turbulence that he had not seen coming at the beginning of his quinquennium and therefore to which he had not prepared himself
The year 2018 was a difficult year for him, with cracks in his staff and his government team. Already at fifteen months of exercise of power, it knew seven departure of its executive. The blow will have been the resignation, last October, of his very close Minister of the Interior, Gerard Collomb, after several weeks of confusion at the top of the state.
This disappointment from its main support, analysts have estimated, weakened a President who, believing in his internal strength, even dared to challenge Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on major international issues. Shortly before this resignation, the ecologist Nicolas Hulot slammed the door of the government on August 28 for a disagreement on the ecological policy and for which he was committed to it.
The other bitter pill he had to swallow against his will is the scandal of his security advisor, Alexandre Benalla, who shook the component of his direct staff by putting his finger on how to govern and on prerogatives taken by the persons close to it
This affair, which broke out in the summer, provoked the most serious crisis of the presidency of Emmanuel Macron, inducing a great cacophony in terms of institutional communication.
Despite these hits, his government team, led by the Premier, Edouard Philippe, continued his reform path that the candidate Macron had promised the French. However, even if the majority of French people agree with these reforms, many reproach him for having opened several projects at once and for having started a rhythm that "goes faster than music".
The fiscal ras-le-bol, a detonator effect
President Macron did not think that the implementation of his reforms would undermine the social equilibrium up to the losers of the purchasing power of the French, the majority of whom can not get over the end of the month for years .
However, the year 2018 showed him that French society was in turmoil. Several social movements were triggered during the year: students, high school students, retirees, health staff, workers. Anger that was not fully appreciated until the straw that broke the camel's back, namely the taxation of fuel prices.
This fiscal slump, expressed by the "yellow vests", a popular movement that is neither trade union nor political, has brought out the social malaise long brooded by the French to cry out their anger against the governance of a head of state who is called "president of the rich" or "richest".
In the opinion of many analysts, this movement, even if its mobilization, which has already lasted for more than a month, was peppered with violence, shows the gap that has existed for many years, between the rulers and the population.
To calm things down and appease this alarming situation, several socio-economic measures were decided by the government, but the "yellow vests", which remains a movement without structure, constitute for the French president a real problematic because of the absence of interlocutors, therefore no gateways of dialogue.
The economic picture is far from reassuring
From day to day and as their movement is radicalized and settled over time, despite a decline in recent weeks, the "yellow vests", still supported by two-thirds of French, are in in the opinion of many observers, a turning point in the five-year period of Emmanuel Macron, in a situation where his ability to reform and his popularity have deteriorated, where he will no longer be able to govern as he already has. during the first eighteen months.
The daily Le Monde revealed, in its delivery last Saturday, that President Macron became aware, through the crisis of "yellow vests" hatred of part of the French.
In an attempt to find a way out, did he rely? on a small circle of faithful, he said. And as a misfortune does not usually come alone, the economic situation, while hoped for improvement, has recorded a "severe impact" of these disturbances, according to the Minister of Economy, Bruno Lemaire. The picture is far from reassuring for this end-of-year period, he warned.
The year 2018 will end, according to the forecasts of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), on growth reduced to 1.5%, which is very low, with a 2019 outlook still more degraded due to an unfavorable international situation. According to the same source, public debt should be around 100% of gross domestic product (GDP).
Closing a year that was complicated for him, President Macron must find, from the first week of 2019, the path of appeasement and serenity to begin the act II of his quinquennium in which he will imperative to provide quick answers to economic challenges, while listening to social palpitations.