Can Macron become president?

France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron resigned on Tuesday. It is now expected that the founder of the En marche ! movement will announce his candidacy for the 2017 presidential elections. He represents change and stands a good chance of winning, some commentators believe. Others feel that not all French people will respond to his call for renewal.

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Slate (FR) /

Macron stands for a fresh start

Emmanuel Macron has not yet officially announced his candidacy for the French presidency but he's the only politician from the centre-left spectrum who stands a chance, Slate comments:

“A 'leftist' candidate can't win because he'd divide his own camp. Emmanuel Macron, by contrast, has a lot of enemies on the left, he annoys many people in all camps and is upsetting all the codes established in France since [Pompidou's presidency in] 1969. But he has two strong points. He represents renewal, and there is considerable desire for new approaches in the French public sphere. Pitched against the elderly [conservative presidential candidate] Juppé and the representative of the Le Pen family, which has been part of France's political landscape for years, he has the potential to exert considerable appeal. He represents the risk of adventure. But many French, including conservatives and those on the far right, feel it's time for a tabula rasa.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Rising star lacks the common touch

Macron would be the perfect choice for president if it wasn't for one key shortcoming, the Frankfurter Rundschau writes:

“This is the kind of leader France needs now. Someone who will break up the inflexible structures and give businesses that are drowning in a sea of regulations some breathing space. Someone who looks to the future with optimism and inspires confidence in his people, worn down as they are by terror, a struggling economy and growing self-doubt. A young, vigorous politician who can give his people the sense that a new era is beginning. … Everything would be perfect if Macron didn’t lack one key attribute. He appears to have no powers of social empathy. ... The former investment banker comes across as out of touch with the people. … The winners of globalisation are rallying around Macron. The losers are turning their backs on him. And without them, he will never be president.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Too revolutionary for the Socialists

Macron's resignation makes clear that the French left is anything but reform-minded, Le Temps comments:

“Emmanuel Macron's departure puts an end to all hopes of reforming the French left from the inside. During his brief time in government, this iconoclast personified youth, audacity, the ability to break with old socialist taboos, from the 35-hour work week to labour laws. Above all he tried - without putting on kid gloves - to reconcile his camp with the private sector, which is considered far more effective at providing jobs and prosperity than the countless state measures that France is now struggling with. The defection of this unbridled reformer shows that his ideas remain intolerable for orthodox Socialists. The upshot is depressing: must the left in France die first for change to be possible?”