By Ali Azimi

Different polls in France: French president is losing anyway!

May 22, 2019

TEHRAN-In recent days, various polls have been published in France. Polls, on the one hand, reflect the growing popularity of the country's president, on the other, reflecting the superiority of the French National Front in the European Parliamentary elections. This contradiction and controversy, in itself, reflects the confusion of the French community. It will have devastating effects on French politicians and parties. Here are two different surveys and reports on the political situation in France:

As The Express reported, The eurosceptic Rassemblement national (RN) party topped the list in France with 24 percent of the vote, just ahead of M Macron’s République en Marche (REM), a poll published on Saturday found. M Macron’s REM party would obtain just 22 percent of the vote, the Harris Interactive poll of 1,031 people conducted on May 17-18 for RTL radio, television channel TF1 and newspaper Le Figaro showed. In a separate poll, published on May 11, 23.5 percent of the people polled said they would vote for the RN’s “Prenez le pouvoir” (Take Power) EU list, against 22.5 percent for the REM’s “Renaissance” list, according to Harris pollsters. The two new polls show a surge in support for Mme Le Pen’s RN party – which was 3.5 percent behind REM on May 3.

The center-right Les Républicains party and the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) are expected to come in third and fourth place respectively, with about 12.5 percent and 10 percent of the vote.

A separate survey by Ifop Fiducial published last week confirmed the rightward shift that has swept Europe. The poll of 2,765 people, conducted on May 13-16 for Paris Match, news channel CNews and Sud Radio, showed the RN winning the French vote with 24 percent, against the REM’s 23 percent. Ifop’s deputy chief Frédéric Dabi told Paris Match: “The Rassemblement national has never been stronger.”

Polls suggest eurosceptic parties like the RN are on course to win a third of seats in the EU parliament and could join forces to build a pan-European power base. Mme Le Pen’s surge comes as a fellow eurosceptic group the Brexit Party remains at the top of the polls in the UK, ahead of both Labour and the Conservatives, capitalizing on the current discontent over Brexit. It is expected to garner up to 30 percent of the British vote, while Labour is expected to garner 21 percent and the Conservatives some 12 percent, according to a Survation poll of 1,303 people conducted on May 8-9.

If the voter surveys prove accurate, the Conservatives would fall to their lowest vote share in a national election since they formed in 1834. The Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Change UK, who all call for a second referendum, collectively have 28 percent of the public’s vote. Widely framed as a contest between far-right populists who want to take back power from Brussels and liberal progressives pushing for a more ambitious bloc, the vote is expected to shape the future of the EU.

If the vote gives Mme Le Pen the biggest number of French seats in the European Parliament as expected, it will erode M Macron's authority among Europeans as he pushes for closer EU integration.

The EU election will also be the young centrist’s first national test since he became president two years ago on a promise to transform France, a pledge which is yet to bear fruit. More than 400 million Europeans will be called on to vote on May 23-26 to set the stage as Brussels debates its uncertain post-Brexit future and faces a rising populist tide. The 751-member legislature will play a key role in the weeks and months after the vote in assigning key leadership roles on the EU Commission and EU Council. Voting takes place in the UK on Thursday, May 23 and in France on Sunday, May 26, with the Europe-wide results expected on Sunday evening.

But as Bloomberg reported,  French President Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating rose to 30% in May, his best score since last summer in the monthly Ifop opinion survey published by Le Journal du Dimanche. The level of support for Macron rose by 1 percentage point from April, but about two out of three of those surveyed are not satisfied with his performance as president, according to the survey published in the daily newspaper Sunday. Two years after his 2017 election, Macron is getting more support than Francois Hollande at the same time as his mandate. Satisfaction for Macron has been recovering in the Ifop poll after a hitting a 23% low in December.

Ifop interviewed 1,946 French people aged 18 or more from May 10 to May 18. According to the Ifop survey, the approval rating for Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also rose by 1 percentage point in May. The poll doesn’t compare Macron and his prime minister with any rival politicians.

There is no doubt that the French president is in a bad position. If he succeeds in the European parliamentary elections, traditional French parties like the Republican Party and the Socialist Party will share with him in the future. If Macron is defeated in the European parliamentary elections, there will be no way to revive his lost political position. Protesters condemn Macron of closing his eyes on the rising cost of living in France. During the recent rallies, four people have died and dozens were wounded. The protests raised at a time when some analysts were speaking of Macron's role in leading Europe! Not long ago, there were talks of Macron becoming Europe's new Angela Merkel, and that he's slowly assuming her role as Europe's leading figure.

In the face of recent protests, Macron had no way but to withdraw from his order to increase fuel taxes. It also seems that he should take more appealing actions to satisfy the demonstrators. Under such circumstances, other reforms that were to be implemented by Macron's government in near future now look much less likely to happen. Finally, the French president is a great loser in the European political scene, even if his party can win in the European parliamentary elections!

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