Leader of French conservatives steps down

Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the French party The Republicans, has resigned in the wake of its poor showing in the EU elections. The successor party to former president Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP and France's biggest conservative party received just 8.48 percent of the vote. Commentators disagree as to what the resignation means for President Macron.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Macron reaping the benefits

For the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the resignation is only logical:

“In Sarkozy's old party the attempt to encroach on Marine Le Pen's territory has failed. Wauquiez had the same experience we have also had in Germany: a basically conservative voter base won't drift that easily to the right extreme, even if it feels insecure or dissatisfied. But if it does, it prefers to vote for the original - in this case Le Pen's Rassemblement National. As the leader of a new conservative camp Macron stands to gain most from the collapse of The Republicans. That could be a good starting point for the next presidential elections, even if they're still a long way off.”

Le Point (FR) /

Bad news for the president

But according to Le Point Macron will be the one to suffer the most as a result of Wauquiez's resignation:

“One can easily imagine Macron's face on Sunday evening when Laurent Wauquiez announced he was stepping down as leader of The Republicans. Definitely not good news. And for a good reason: the head of the conservative party was an ideal adversary - and not an 'enemy'. Wauquiez would have been a godsend as a presidential candidate in 2022 - an undreamed-of boon. ... He would never have teamed up with Marine Le Pen. His desire to maintain a rigid barrier between his party and the former National Front was a guarantee that Macron would be re-elected in a run-off against Marine Le Pen.”