Gilet jaunes protests are Macron's 'achilles heel' says expert
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The book titled ‘Affronter’ or Confront has been deemed by some to be former Socialist president, Hollande’s attempt to get revenge on his former protege Mr Macron. Mr Hollande is thought by some to have taken Mr Macron’s rise to power as a personal betrayal.
Others see the book as an attempt at a political comeback by Mr Hollande who previously served one term as President.
Following Mr Hollande’s departure from the Elysee Palace, the left political spectrum in France suffered, with only Jean-Luc Melanchon posing any real presence in the left minded camp.
It is suggested a return to politics by Mr Hollande could reunite the left, and bring back a credible challenge to Mr Macron’s centre-right party, La Republique en Marche, as rising factions from the far-right also jostle to remove Mr Macron from power.
Slating Mr Macron in his book, Mr Hollande writes: “This term has been marked by a lack of coherence and by the absence of a doctrine, which has led to the president to multiply U-turns on essential issues, such as the role of the state, ecology and security.”
Mr Macron’s time in office has not been without drama.
The handling of the so-called yellow vest movement in France was criticized by many, as Mr Macron was accused of ignoring the record number of protests that rocked France week after week over a price hike in fuel.
Criticising Mr Macron’s ability to unify the country, Mr Hollande said: “He should have tried to reconcile the French, instead… France seems split between a minority which is doing well and the rest of the country which is worried about its future.”
Likening the incumbent to another unpopular president, Nicolas Sarkozi, Mr Hollande went on to say: “The rich have become even richer”, referencing Mr Sarkozi’s conduct.
So far, Mr Hollande has not publicly stated that he intends to run in the upcoming elections, and has placed his backing towards Anne Hidalgo, the current Mayor of Paris, however, opinion polls place her at only five percent, once again showing weak support for the socialist end of French politics.
With no other credible candidates to put forward, Mr Hollande is thought to secretly hope Hidalgo concedes her place in the running, forcing the left to turn to Mr Hollande in order to bring about stability.
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In a hint of political policy, the book also outlines would could be deemed as an attempt at a manifesto.
Calling for a “French New Deal”, Mr Hollande hopes the future of France will involve the redistribution of wealth to offset the burden on the lower classes of environmental policies such as the purchase of electric cars, and a 10,000 euro grant to all young adults.
Furthermore, Mr Macron’s handling of the security situation in France may also fall in Mr Hollande’s favour.
Amid fears, Islamophobia is on the rise in France, and Mr Macron stated: “I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw”, following the release of cartoons of the prophet Mohammad which sparked global condemnation, the largest Muslim population in Europe is thought to be seeking an alternative to Mr Macron as leader.
France remains at a critical junction in national, European and international politics.
At home, Mr Macron has to reunite a divided country, recovering from a pandemic that has taken its toll on the French economy.
In Europe, he is thought to want to fill the void left behind as Angela Merkel steps aside and convince the EU the values and legacy of the union are still intact, in spite of evidence suggesting otherwise.
He is also thought to want to rejuvenate France’s place on the world stage as a serious contender, following the humiliation of losing a submarine deal with Australia and seeing France’s popularity slide down the rankings with other nations as he sought revenge for the treachery endured.
Mr Hollande’s return to power in France seems unlikely but as the country faces a surge of populist and far-right movements, his book may be deemed as him taking one last dig at his former student.
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