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Emmanuel Macron's approval rating falls to lowest point yet with just 29 per cent support

French president has faced wave of resignations and scandal over his bodyguard

Adam Forrest
Sunday 23 September 2018 16:47 BST
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Macron's popularity fell further in September
Macron's popularity fell further in September (AFP/Getty)

French president Emmanuel Macron has been hit with his lowest ever approval rating as his popularity continues to tumble.

Only 29 per cent of French citizens surveyed in September said they were satisfied with Mr Macron, according to a new Ifop poll – the lowest figure recorded by the firm during his presidency.

The leader’s rating has fallen from 34 per cent in August and 39 per cent in July. It follows a series of high-profile departures from his government and a summer scandal over the firing of his bodyguard.

The president was also heavily criticised last week for telling an unemployed man he could easily get a job simply by “crossing the street”.

Winning the 2017 election with 66.1 per cent of the vote, the centrist politician fronted the La République En Marche! (LREM) party he helped establish the previous year.

The former investment banker pledged to modernise the French economy, but many voters have complained his labour reforms have benefited only the country’s largest businesses.

Francois de Rugy, Mr Macron’s new environment minister, said low popularity ratings would not change the government’s agenda.

Emmanuel Macron’s environment minister Nicolas Hulot quits live on French radio

“I take these polls as a spur,” he told BFM-TV. “They remind us that we must act.

“Each time you want change, some people will oppose it. So you have two solutions – either you stop in hope of being popular again or continue while listening to the French people.”

Mr Macron was damaged earlier this month by the surprise resignation of his environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, a popular former activist and TV presenter. Mr Hulot complained about his disappointment in the government’s lack of ambition on climate issues.

The sports minister Laura Flessel also quit earlier in September. She decided to leave for reasons linked to her “fiscal situation”, a source told AFP.

Tax officials reportedly notified France’s tax infraction commission (CIF) about their suspicions Ms Flessel had underreported her earnings.

And last week the interior minister Gerard Collomb, one of Macron’s closest allies, said he would be stepping down to run for mayor of Lyon in 2020.

In July Mr Macron’s senior bodyguard Alexandre Benalla was fired after video footage showed him hitting a male protester and dragging away a woman while off duty.

Additional reporting by agencies

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