Emmanuel Macron has started his six-week political tour of France with the aim of “taking the pulse” of the country emerging from the coronavirus crisis.
In the run-up to this month’s regional elections and, more importantly, next year’s presidential battle, the French leader will make two regional visits a week until mid-July.
The Meet-the-French exercise aims to promote what he calls the “forgotten successes” of his last four years in office, overshadowed by 14 months of intermittent coronavirus lockdowns and more than a year of yellow vests (yellow vests) protests.
“A few days after the first reopening and the summer season approaching, these visits will be an occasion for the head of state to meet the French people, to promote our tourist heritage for the next holidays and to emphasize the importance of tourism, an important sector for our economy, which has been greatly affected by the health crisis, “read a statement from the Elysee.
On Wednesday, the president visited the medieval town of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, previously voted the most picturesque town in France, and Martel, both in the Lot department in southwestern France.
Presidential advisers said the purpose of the visits was “to listen rather than speak.” Part of Macron’s pre-election offensive has been to abandon formal speeches to attract younger voters, who are among those most affected by the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus.
Ten days ago, the president participated in a game of true or false anecdotes with the popular YouTube duo Mcfly et Carlito, real names like David Coscas and Raphaël Carlier, who have more than 6.6 million followers. The 36 minute video, filmed at the Elysee Palace and released on May 23, was viewed by almost 9 million people in 24 hours and has now been viewed by more than 13 million.
Given that abstentions will likely be a key part of next year’s presidential election, and polls suggest that young voters questioning their future after the pandemic are being tempted by political extremes, French analysts watched Mcfly et al’s video. Carlito as a political marketing coup.
“The president must show that he is not locked in his ivory tower and that he is still in contact with young people and current trends,” he said. The world.
Others, however, felt that Macron risked alienating part of the electorate who viewed such antics as simplifying “presidential status,” a point of view not mitigated by the appearance of Macron in a formal suit and tie.
Laurent Jacobelli, spokesperson for the far-right Marine Le Pen National Rally, said FranceInfo: “To put the last nail in the coffin of the presidential function, he becomes a YouTuber.”
Mathieu Slama, a political consultant, said the exercise demonstrated a “purely utilitarian view of politics, dominated by marketing thinking that divides the electorate into goals that need to be addressed separately.” He dismissed it as “pure entertainment, therefore generally quite painful to watch.”
“With this video, the Elysee leaves the political arena and is placed solely in the field of entertainment and spectacle,” wrote Slama in Le Figaro. “This video is unprecedented in the history of political communication. Therefore, it is anything but anecdotal and says something serious about the way in which power considers communication and the political function today.
Last month, Macron announced via TikTok that an experiment “Cultural pass” The scheme was to be expanded and all 18-year-olds would be offered 300 euros (£ 260) to spend on arts and cultural activities, such as cinema or theater tickets, books and art supplies, musical instruments, visits to museums or dance, singing or acting classes.
Macron’s latest national marathon echoes his “Great Debate” tour of early 2019, an unprecedented exercise to consult citizens on how to fix France’s problems, in response to the anti-government revolt of the gilets jaunes movement.
He is not the first French leader to seek to show that he has the common touch. An unfortunate consultation exercise by King Louis XVI in 1789 he sought to quell popular discontent but sparked the French Revolution and brought the king to the guillotine four years later.
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing invited garbage collectors to the Elysee on Christmas 1974 and then decided to invite himself to dinner with French families. François Mitterrand participated in a television broadcast in which he spoke they will see, a form of slang, to sound modern.
Macron’s popularity hovers around 40% in the polls, far higher than that of his two predecessors, the socialist François Hollande and the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, at the same stage of their five-year terms. Both served a mandate.
With center-right Les Républicains and Socialists scrambling to find credible candidates ten months before the two-round presidential elections in April and May, current predictions have Macron in a runoff with Le Pen.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism