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Analysis: Macron follows a well-worn path of French presidents, by veering to the right


Macron had campaigned with the slogan, “neither left nor right.” But he now seems to be lurching within the latter path. Two controversial payments, and more and more inflammatory rhetoric coming from the Interior Ministry, are proof of this.

With the presidential election simply 17 months away, the 42-year-old dangers shedding help from most of the left-leaning voters who helped him win workplace within the first place.

Over the previous three years, 43 MPs have both stop or been thrown out of Macron’s get together, La République en Marche (LREM), created in 2016. Some of them had been specialists drawn from civil society who had entered parliament eager to reshape the well-worn mildew of conventional get together politics. Some felt alienated by the federal government’s more and more conservative line.

“We are not the ones doing the betraying. On the contrary, we believe we are returning to our original values,” Emilie Cariou informed French radio after quitting LREM in May to begin her personal inexperienced parliamentary group.

Political analyst Dominique Moisi believes that since he got here to energy, Macron has been attempting to fulfill voters on the best, slightly than his leftist base.

“There is this evolution which explains the disarray of some of the members of the LREM who left the party because they felt he was moving too much in the direction of economic liberalism and security conservatism,” Moisi informed CNN.

Macron’s conservative overtures relating to safety have been obvious when his get together introduced the “global security bill” in parliament. Article 24 of the invoice would ban the dissemination of pictures of cops with the “intent to cause them harm.”

If it turns into regulation, offenders can be topic to a most one-year jail time period and a $54,000 high-quality.

Many concern the invoice would make protecting protests and police brutality tougher for journalists. After widespread protests, and with journalists and human rights organizations decrying article 24, Macron’s authorities bowed to stress and on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s workplace introduced article 24 can be amended to make sure it didn’t “prejudice the legitimate interest of the public to be informed.”

During a debate Friday in Parliament, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin addressed the criticism, saying journalists and members of the general public “can continue to film and broadcast but you cannot give names and addresses of our police officers who want to serve the republic.”

But sharing pictures “intended to harm or incite violence would violate the law.

Parliament voted to approve the controversial article Friday. The entire global security bill faces a vote Tuesday before going to the Senate.

Combating extremism

The draft legislation is one of two bills sparking public debate in France.

Next month Macron’s ministers will present legislation that the French President hopes will strengthen secular values and combat “Islamist separatism.”

In an October speech, Macron announced the new draft law would ban home schooling starting in September 2021, saying inspectors for the Education Authority frequently close illegal schools run by religious extremists. The proposed law would also target funding for mosques.

Secularism has taken center stage in France in the wake of the beheading of Samuel Paty, a school teacher who was killed by a Chechen teenager after he showed his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a class on freedom of expression.

Reacting to Macron’s proposals, Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the French council for the Muslim faith, said he would support the fight against extremism.

But some activists and left-wing MPs condemned Macron’s speech.

“Macron didn’t converse of separatism and republican cohesion. He solely spoke obsessively of Islam. Stigmatizing Muslims — that is his solely answer for attempting to masks the catastrophic well being and social disaster,” wrote Manon Aubrey, an MP with far-left get together La France Insoumise.

French human rights campaigner Yasser Louati tweeted that Macron had “emboldened the far proper” with his speech.

Macron’s defense of the cartoons, which are considered blasphemous in Islam, sparked demonstrations and triggered boycotts of French products in Muslim-majority countries.

Moisi said Macron’s hardened stance on security and Islamic extremism was a direct response to the recent terror attacks that have blighted the country, and one that could help neutralize the rhetoric of the far-right.

“Macron is attempting to reply the evolution of the state of affairs which calls in his thoughts for extra safety, and he is not letting the acute proper profit from the rise in terrorist actions in France,” he told CNN.

An Elysee spokesperson denied to CNN that there had been shift to the right in government, insisting that the recent legislative proposals are simply designed to protect the population.

Shifting electorate

With the next presidential election less than a year and a half away, Macron’s biggest threat comes from Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, National Rally.

Along with the proposed legislation, Macron’s recent political appointments may also represent an effort to neutralize his opponent.

In his last reshuffle, the President picked a few conservative stalwarts, shifting the ideological balance of his cabinet. In the wake of the reshuffle, Jerome Fourqet with the Ifop polling firm told French radio Europe 1 that Macron had seen his electorate change over the past three years.

“Numerous individuals who voted for him — who have been from the left — have gone as a result of they see that he has shifted,” Fourqet said. “They have been changed with electors who did not vote for him and who’re from the best.”

Newly appointed Interior minister Gerald Darmanin delivers a speech on July 7 at the police headquarters of Les Mureaux, outside Paris, on his first official visit in the role.

Macron promoted Darmanin, a protégé of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, from finances minister to inside minister.

Darmanin confronted criticism lately when he mentioned in an interview with RMC/BFMTV that he was “shocked” by aisles dedicated to halal and kosher food in supermarkets because they undermined the secular values of France.

Those were not his first controversial comments. Back in July, Darmanin weighed in on the subject of violence in French society — when he said the “rising savageness of part of society have to be stopped.”

“Savageness” — meaning to become savage or to descend into savagery — is a loaded term in France that carries racist overtones and plays heavily into the far-right discourse.

Nearing the end of his tenure, Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande tried to reassure the French, reeling from a series of brutal terror attacks, by proposing a highly controversial bill that aimed to strip dual nationals of their French citizenship if they were convicted of terrorism. The bill sent shockwaves through Hollande’s Socialist Party, prompting his justice minister to resign.

Hollande lost support and, faced with record low approval ratings, became the first French president not to seek re-election. This provided Macron with his opportunity.

Now, with Macron’s fledgling party already split and controversy surrounding his proposed legislation, the question is how much further to the right he is willing or able to go to keep that lead intact.

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