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  Newsmakers   11 Jun 2017  Macron: young, daring, optimistic prez leads as man with Midas touch

Macron: young, daring, optimistic prez leads as man with Midas touch

AFP
Published : Jun 11, 2017, 2:06 pm IST
Updated : Jun 11, 2017, 2:08 pm IST

The Macronmania in France is similar to the Obamamania that swept the US after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AP)
 French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AP)

Paris: He's the man with the Midas touch - so far at least. Since taking office four weeks ago French President Emmanuel Macron's star has shone bright, restoring a sense of national pride.

From Germany's normally inscrutable Angela Merkel to India's nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Macron's youth, daring optimism have bowled over world leaders who are lining up for photo-ops with ‘le Kid’ as L'Express news weekly nicknamed the 39-year-old.

 

Resistance is futile, as US President Donald Trump found out when he tried - but failed - to dominate Macron in a by now memorable white-knuckle handshake.

A few days later Trump dropped a bombshell when he confirmed plans to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord.

But he was arguably again upstaged by Macron, who replied with an English-language appeal to the world to "make our planet great again" - a slogan that has became a rallying cry for Trump critics.

"France is in vogue again, France is cool," Spain's El Pais newspaper wrote, comparing the Macronmania to the Obamamania that swept the US after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

 

At home, Macron's rivals have been trying to hold on as scores of lawmakers from across the left-right divide jump ship and join his centrist camp.

Given no chance two months ago of winning a majority, polls now show his year-old Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) party romping home in the June 11-June 18 parliamentary vote with between 385 and 415 seats in the 577- member National Assembly.

"At the moment you could take a goat wearing a Macron badge and it would have a good chance of being elected," joked BFMTV political commentator Christophe Barbier.

The son of two doctors from the northeastern city of Amiens had made a career out of breaking the mould.

 

The former investment banker is married to his 64-year- old former teacher Brigitte Macron, a glamorous divorced mother of three whom he fell for as a teen.

Their relationship was the subject of deep fascination during the presidential campaign, which the media-savvy Macron worked to his advantage.

His path to France's highest office is as unusual as their inter-generational love story.

Macron had never held elected office before throwing his hat into the ring to replace Francois Hollande, two years after Hollande promoted him from political unknown to become economy minister.

In a country where political careers have traditionally been built over decades, he took the risk of founding his own centrist party from scratch rather than seek the nomination of the right or left.

 

It was a gamble that paid off among voters disillusioned with the existing political class.

Tags: angela merkel, francois hollande, donald trump, emmanuel macron
Location: France, Île-de-France, Paris