FO° Talks: France in Crisis: Macron Now in Bed With Far-Right

France seems to have effectively joined the growing cadre of right-wing governments in Europe. Once heralded for his moderate, centrist politics, French President Emmanuel Macron is supporting right-wing policies and parties to further his own interests. Macron’s increasing narcissism has caused a crisis for French politics.


French President Emmanuel Macron’s new immigration policy has shocked many French citizens. This policy sought to restrict legal protections for asylum seekers and even accelerated the deportation process. Once praised for his moderate politics, Macron now has lurched to the right.

In order to pass the new immigration bill, Macron negotiated with the far-right majority in the French Senate. Shockingly, he agreed with many of the extreme conservative amendments added to the bill by Marine Le Pen’s party, National Rally. Consequently, the immigration bill has passed successfully.

The National Rally began in the 1960s as the militant, racist, fascist National Front created by Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Many of its ideals remain the same. Thus, Macron’s deal with the party has caused a great political upheaval in France. So far, no ruling president has worked with this far-right party. Now, all of a sudden, Macron and the far right have struck an alliance on immigration. Why has the French president switched teams? The answer lies in the concentration of power in Élysée Palace — the French president’s official residence —and Macron’s narcissistic opportunism.

French elections are not like American ones

Every five years, France goes to the polls and elects presidents and legislators. Earlier the presidential term was seven years. This allowed for a midterm legislative election and often led to cohabitation. This term referred to the phenomenon in which the president and the prime minister, who enjoyed a legislative majority, belonged to opposing parties. This curtailed the power of even charismatic presidents like François Mitterand and Jacques Chirac.

Cohabitation often led to gridlock, so the French now have five-year terms for both the president and the legislators. This constitutional change has concentrated further power in the hands of the president.

In 2022, Emmanuel Macron was reelected, defeating Marine Le Pen. Despite her attempts to clean up National Rally’s appearance, Marine is really just about as far-right as her father Jean-Marie. The French held their noses and voted for Macron, but the vast majority did not want him to have the extensive powers of the presidency. For the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, which Charles de Gaulle founded in 1958, the president did not win a majority in the French national legislature.

Macron has tricked the French people

Macron and Le Pen squaring off in the last election demonstrated, the traditionally dominant parties of the center-right and the left have lost credibility. Macron replaced the socialists while Le Pen has defenestrated the Gaullists. Of course, Macron came to power first. He gave France the illusion that he was moderate, centrist and willing to listen to the public.

Once in office, it became clear Macron did not have the public’s interest in mind. He fell in popularity after revealing his pro-business, free-enterprise model for the government. Furthermore, Macron’s narcissistic personality began to reveal itself. His narcissisme pervers showed right from the start when he named his own political party — En Marche — curiously with the same abbreviation as his initials.

Extremely narcissistic personalities are often attracted to high office. Patrick Weil’s biography The Madman in the White House captured the increasing narcissism of US President Woodrow Wilson. In his latter days in the White House, Wilson refused to be confined by the constitutional constraints of his office. Weil concludes that excessive power distorts a person’s ability to govern democratically and correctly.

Today, France is in crisis because of an extreme concentration of power in the hands of the president. Like Wilson a century ago, Macron does not want to be confined in his exercise of power. This former minister in a socialist government has now done a deal with the far-right to push through a draconian immigration bill, breaking all political precedent in the Fifth Republic.

The Fifth Republic is not defective

Some, including Fair Observer’s Editor-in-Chief Atul Singh, argue that the Fifth Republic is dysfunctional. The president just has far too much power, and France today cannot be governed by a republic that Gaulle built in his image. The far right is now rising because the Fifth Republic is failing.

Weil does not think so. He believes that the French constitution does not need further change. The problems in France stem from narcissistic personalities who have become presidents and abused the power of the presidential office.

Related Reading

The solution for France is not a sixth republic but a return to the original text of the constitution of the Fifth Republic. Voters have to vote not for narcissists like Macron or Le Pen but for candidates who respect both the spirit and the letter of the constitution.

The views expressed in this article/video are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.


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