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 Collomb has been replaced by Christophe Castaner, the erstwhile head ofMacron's La Rpublique En Marche!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 extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.