Emmanuel Macron has set up his six-week political tour de France, aimed at “taking the pulse” of the country as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis.
In the run-up to regional elections this month and, more importantly, the battle for the presidency next year, the French leader will make two regional visits a week until mid-July.
The meet-the-French exercise aims to bolster the “forgotten successes” of his last four years in office, overseeing a 14-month on-off coronavirus lockdown and more than one year of the year preceding that yellow vest (yellow vest) Protest.
“With summer season just days after the first reopened, these tours are a way for the head of state to meet the French, promote our tourist heritage and emphasize the importance of tourism for the holidays to come. There will be opportunity. , a key sector for our economy that has been badly hit by the health crisis,” read a statement from Elysee.
On Wednesday the President visited the medieval village Saint-Cirque-Lapopie, previously voted France’s most picturesque village, and Martel, both in the Lot department in south-west France.
The president’s aides said the visits were aimed at “listening rather than speaking”. Part of Macron’s pre-election offensive has been skipping formal speeches to lure young voters who have been hardest hit by the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus.
Ten days ago the president indulged in a true-or-false anecdote game with popular YouTube duo Mcfly et Carlito – real names David Koskas and Rafael Carlier, who have more than 6.6 million followers. 36 minute videoFilmed at the Elysee Palace and released on 23 May, it garnered nearly 9 million views in 24 hours and is now viewed by over 13 million people.
With elections likely to be a significant part of next year’s presidential election, and polls showing that young voters are questioning their future post-pandemic, being wooed by political extremists, French analysts McFly et Carlito Viewed the video as a masterstroke of political marketing.
“The president needs to show that he is not locked in his ivory tower and that he is still exposed to young people and current trends,” he said. world.
Others, however, felt that Macron risked alienating the segment of voters who saw such actions as undermining the “presidential position”, a view formalized by Macron. Appearing in a suit and tie did not diminish.
Laurent Jacobelli, spokesman for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, told franceinfo: “He becomes a YouTuber to put the last nail in the coffin of the presidential ceremony.”
A political consultant, Matthew Slama, said the practice “demonstrated a purely utilitarian vision of politics, dominated by marketing thinking that divides voters into goals to be addressed separately”. He dismissed it as “pure entertainment, so overall painful to watch”.
“With this video, Elysee is stepping out of the political arena and placing herself entirely in the realm of entertainment and spectacle,” wrote Slama le figurearo. “This video is without precedent in the history of political communication. So it is nothing but anecdote, and there is something serious about the way power now considers communication and today’s political work.
Last month, Macron announced through Tiktok that an experiment “Culture Pass” The plan was to be expanded and provide all 18-year-olds with a cost of €300 (£260) to spend on artistic and cultural activities including cinema or theater tickets, books and art supplies, musical instruments, museum visits or dancing, singing or will be offered. acting classes.
Macron’s latest nationwide marathon echoes early 2019 The “Great Debate” Journey, an unprecedented exercise in consulting citizens on how to fix France’s problems, in response to an anti-government uprising by the Gillettes-Jauns movement.
He is not the first French leader to show that he has the same touch. An unfortunate counseling exercise by King Louis XVI Tried to quell popular discontent in 1789 but sparked the French Revolution and prompted the king to guillotine four years later.
Valerie Giscard d’Estaing invited celebrated collectors to the Elysee on Christmas of 1974, and then invited herself to dinner with French families. François Mitterrand took part in a TV broadcast in which he spoke Verlan, A form of slang, to reveal the hip.
Macron’s popularity is about 40% in the polls, much higher than that of two of his predecessors, the socialist François Hollande and the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, in a single phase in his five-year mandate. Both completed the term of one term.
Centre-right Les Républiques and Socialists are struggling to come up with credible candidates for 10 months ahead of a two-round presidential election next April and May, with Macron Le Pen in a second-round runoff in current predictions. Huh.
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