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Macron was elected as president by gaining most of the votes in French society as a non-powerful name in French politics. Although he was said to have been elected against the right-wing populist candidate Le Pen, Macron remained a peculiar politician because of his popularity and the effectiveness of his promises. On the other hand, some of the policies he realized during his presidency had been disadvantageous. Macron, a central vision, did not allow interest groups to participate in government’s decision-making processes and legitimized this with the natural structure of French political formation.
In addition, the economic decisions he made increased the income inequality and caused nation-wide protests Apart from these, the positive decisions made using a strong state structure on the level of social welfare gave him an advantage in the public eye.
One of the biggest problems Macron had faced in French politics came from lack of representation for interest groups. For this reason, many groups, including yellow vests, protested the government in recent years.
It was evident that protesters were not generally members of a political view or radical group. Looking at their general profile, it was known that these people were middle-income people who were backing the economic problems of France and who were struggling to make a living. It was clear that the reaction was against Macron administration’s general policies and reforms.
The general opinion in French society was that the reforms Macron had been carrying out since his inauguration had made the rich in the country even more rich and made middle- and lower-income people’s lives more difficult.
In this way, the fact that minority groups were not given the right to speak on behalf of these people in the parliament was in line with the political structure of France as stated in Chapter 7. The fact that parties which had majority votes had more seats than usual in the parliament resulted in certain groups not included in the decision-making mechanisms. The reading “Macron’s Nightmare” argues that these problems have occurred because of Macron’s inability to grasp the perception of public representation.
Another problem Macron faced came from the political economy decisions. Macron’s efforts to implement policies with the risk of further disrupting the income distribution increased the tension and caused the yellow vests movement to emerge. As a solution, policies such as the use of wealth tax more effectively and pressure on tax havens in order to correct the distortions in income distribution were ignored. Contrary to these policy proposals, Macron reduced the wealth tax to a minimum in order to attract French elites’ money in tax havens to France. In addition, the decision to increase fuel tax, which had a distorting income distribution was taken. In the article “Man with the Golden Desk” it was stated that the decisions taken during this crisis did not meet the public’s desire. Macron’s moves to satisfy the globalists and elites had further intensified the anger of the low-income and middle-class who had already suffered since the crisis.
Although the aforementioned areas were a problem for Macron, his understanding of the social welfare state since the election process had given him an advantage. In this context, flexible forms of employment had been envisioned especially for the purpose of specialization in labor markets. This was in line with the law Macron issued during his presidency term as the Macron Law. Macron had adopted an economic model that was more dependent on the international system and markets. In particular, the increase in unemployment in the country after the reforms of the European Union had been an area that he marked as a major problem. Macron conducted studies to ensure that social welfare exceptions for labor markets will be brought back overtime. This brought social welfare as the result of labor. As stated in Chapter 6, the expenditures of the state had been increased in order to increase the level of social welfare of the society. But in order to cover these expenditures, increased taxes affected the working class and led to income difference.
Emmanuel Macron’s new dynamic movement, which confronted the right and left opposition, seemed to appeal to the young voters who were initially frustrated by the controversial issues that fueled populism, but the crisis of representation in the Western democracy tradition was continuing. Macron, who didn’t win majority of votes in the first round, had suffered a representation problem since the elections. The economic decision lowered living standards of the middle and lower class and thus, reduced the support he received in the first period of his presidency. Macron, known as the president of the rich, failed to fulfill his promises of increasing the welfare level over time and made the country’s economy more fragile. Although there were demands for reform for the European Union, the structure which could not fully recover as a result of Brexit, could not provide the desired economic support. As a result, Macron’s disadvantages were more significant.
As a result, Macron had a more globalist, pro-European profile that was integrated into the neoliberal world in terms of policies was implemented to date. The key to his political discourse had always been reform. Although Macron claimed to be the pioneer of reform in all areas of the country and reform process in the European Union, the question of how much this was possible remains controversial. The planned administrative changes were not proceeded in the desired plane, and as a result of the lack of infrastructure, they were led to negative results in many structures of the state. In general, it is still a matter of curiosity whether his presidential term will lead to positive path during this period of economic and social issues.
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