NNor is France lost, nor can President Emmanuel Macron have legitimate hopes of regaining an absolute majority in Parliament next Sunday and being able to follow through on his promises of reform. But his second term is already ill-fated. As in the presidential election in April, Macron failed to win the hearts of the people in the first round of the general election. The head of state, who is still young at 44, cannot shake off the accusation of being arrogant and opportunistic. The fact that he set an important course on the labor market seems just as little mobilizing as the efforts to protect purchasing power that began early on.
The perception of what brings France forward economically is increasingly divided, far into the bourgeois sphere. There is no other explanation for the fact that the leftist tribune Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who wants to turn his back on NATO, EU treaties and economic liberalism, has brought not only socialists and communists but also Greens and respected economists like Thomas Piketty to his side. They may strike a chord with their concerns about growing wealth inequality. Recipes such as far-reaching price controls, a return to retirement age at 60 and new government spending in the three-digit billion range make even old leftists shudder.
The implementation of Mélenchon’s program will lead to unemployment and unsustainable debt dynamics, warned Guillaume Hannezo, who once advised François Mitterrand. In relation to economic output, Mélenchon is demanding seven (!) times as much expenditure as the socialist president 40 years ago. The experiment at that time already resulted in a whirlpool of billions in deficits and capital flight, which ended in a tough austerity course. After the second round of the parliamentary elections next Sunday, Macron is expecting his baptism of fire: he has to convince the French that it is not bureaucracy but a competitive economy that creates prosperity and that retirement in the mid-60s is quite appropriate.
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