Macron reshuffles cabinet, not policies

The French president has reshuffled his cabinet amid his plunging approval ratings.


Macron: a clumsy reshuffle
(Image credit: 2018 Getty Images)

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday in the face of "plummeting approval ratings", says Zachary Young on Politico. The resignation of his interior minister, Grard Collomb, on 3 October the third minister to go in as manymonths "added to animpression of mounting disarray".

This wasn't helped by a reshuffle that "dragged onfor 13 days" with five candidates reportedly refusing ministerial posts. Collomb has been replaced by Christophe Castaner, the erstwhile head ofMacron's La Rpublique En Marche! party. In total, eight new faces were brought in and a further six cabinet ministers have switched portfolios.

Overall, this was a "cautious reshuffle", says Ben Hall in the Financial Times, "designed less to relaunch" the presidency than to preserve a "political balance between former socialists and moderate conservatives vying for influence". More generally, the message that accompanied it is that Macron is "not for turning" when it comes to his ambitious reform agenda, says The Times. This makes sense.

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Although hispopularity ratings have slumped to around 33%, this owes more to "disaffection with his style" he is seen as arrogant than his policies, for which polls suggest public support. He has already pushed through "substantial reforms" of the labour market, tax system and railways without triggering mass street protests and strikes. This is just as well, since many reforms are "decades overdue". National debt is expected to hit 98.6% of GDP this year, growth is 1.7% and unemployment is at 9.1%.

Macron, who now plans to tackle the benefits and pension system, will be hoping that earlier reforms bear fruit soon, adds Hall. His problem is that he is a newcomer who, so far, has failed to define a "coherent political vision" which supports his "neither left nor right" slogan. Unfairly, he is widely seen as "a president for the rich". That needs to change.

Emily Hohler

Emily has worked as a journalist for more than thirty years and was formerly Assistant Editor of MoneyWeek, which she helped launch in 2000. Prior to this, she was Deputy Features Editor of The Times and a Commissioning Editor for The Independent on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph. She has written for most of the national newspapers including The Times, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Daily Mail, She interviewed celebrities weekly for The Sunday Telegraph and wrote a regular column for The Evening Standard. As Political Editor of MoneyWeek, Emily has covered subjects from Brexit to the Gaza war.

Aside from her writing, Emily trained as Nutritional Therapist following her son's diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2011 and now works as a practitioner for Nature Doc, offering one-to-one consultations and running workshops in Oxfordshire.