France: Macron embarasses his MPs

In France, a parliamentary vote on special leave for bereaved parents has triggered a major debate. President Emmanuel Macron initially called on his LREM MPs to vote against extending paid leave from five days to twelve, but following fierce criticism from the opposition and employers he called for a more compassionate stance. French media see a problem with the whole system.

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Le Monde (FR) /

Symptomatic uncertainty

The current chaos testifies to a major crisis of strategy and purpose in Macron's presidency, Le Monde comments:

“The current turmoil can be partly explained by a lack of experience: banishing the old world has brought forth a new generation of legislators who are wet behind the ears and lack any proper foundations. This poses a problem today and for the rest of the presidency, as the alternatives are very limited in the event of a government reshuffle. The most worrying aspect, however, is the loss of the 'narrative' on which Macron based his presidency. The purpose of the reforms is being eclipsed by convoluted technical solutions that make everything seem void of meaning. So the President's warning first and foremost applies to himself.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

Too much presidential power

Not just Macron, but France's entire democratic system is ailing, L'Opinion adds:

“Due to the ban on holding multiple offices, members of the National Assembly lack a stronghold where they can reconnect with their voters and really feel like decision-makers. Above all, their five-year term, aligned with that of the President, deprives them of much of their electoral legitimacy. So it's not easy for the majority to make their own choices and distance themselves from the line dictated by the president without being accused of rebelling. This infernal mechanism increasingly concentrates citizens' expectations on the president: the illusion of a man sent from from heaven is stronger than ever. A real political risk.”