Macron 'faces revolt' over vaccine passports says McCrae
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French President Emmanuel Macron has had a varied first term in office since he assumed his position in 2017. At the time, he managed to beat rival Marine Le Pen by more than ten million votes. But recent polling shows his lead has recently narrowed, and he may have trouble as the far-right candidate plans to run again.
Why has France turned against Emmanuel Macron?
According to Politico’s poll of polls, Emmanuel Macron is neck-and-neck with Ms Le Pen.
They are projected to take in 25 percent of the 2022 vote share each, showing a notable shift in attitudes among the French people.
In 2017, Mr Macron managed to secure 24 percent of votes, while his rival lagged behind on 21.3 percent.
Several potential reasons could be behind the recent shift, ranging from the economy to complaints around vaccine passports.
In 2021, French motorists have been stung by a sudden surge in fuel prices.
They have had to pay 16 percent more for petrol since the year began, while diesel has surged by 12 percent.
Although this may seem extreme to some, prices are returning to their baseline before the height of the pandemic.
Last year, people could buy petrol for €1.23 (£1.06) and diesel for €1.16 (£1), while they now need to fork over €1.59 (£1.37) and €1.43 (£1.23) per litre as of the second week of August.
On the face of it, this may not seem immediately concerning for Mr Macron, but one of the most consistent complaints amongst French voters is the cost of living.
Early in his first term, anti-government “yellow vest” protests erupted over plans to raise fuel taxes, and tensions remain three years later.
In 2021, demonstrations have also demanded Mr Macron ditch controversial plans for vaccine passports.
Politicians across Europe have considered the policy, which many see as an infringement of their individual freedoms.
The French President announced his proposed bill on July 12 in a national address, referring to them as “extended health passes” that could help curb rising Covid cases.
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Speaking to radio station France Info last week, one woman named Brigitte branded the address “too harsh”, and the health pass a “dangerous tool”.
As she prepared to march again, she told the station she feared they would eventually apply to more than health emergencies.
Catherine, a social worker, told The Daily Telegraph she felt the French government is “micromanaging” its citizens and “seems to think we’re stupid children”.
These compounding issues could see people driven into the arms of Ms Le Pen amid the April 2022 election.
Her party, the National Rally, has criticised plans to introduce the health pass.
But they have stopped there, hoping to avoid association with throngs of anti-vaccination protesters.
These factors have impacted Mr Macron’s popularity, at least at present.
The poll of polls doesn’t estimate a loss for him, however.
French elections run in two rounds, and although Mr Macron could fail to pull ahead in the first, he would progress alongside Ms Le Pen.
In the second round, the poll predicts he can capture 56 percent of the vote to his rival’s 44 percent, a narrow win that would see him lost 10 percent of his support from 2017 while Ms Le Pen gains more than 11 percent.
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