Macron’s Struggle to Lead France
Despite an appetite for reform and a grand vision for French and European power, the French president has struggled to build a political base that could outlast him.
On April 24, 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron was handily re-elected to a second five-year term, becoming the first French president to be re-elected in twenty years. Widespread alarm over a potential electoral upset from the far right, first from newcomer Éric Zemmour and then from Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017, turned out to be unwarranted. Macron is, in many ways, a prototypically ideal candidate for the French presidency. He was brought up through the elite institutions which have long served as talent pools for the French bureaucracy. He worked as an investment banker at Rothschild & Co., held senior positions under President François Hollande (2012-17), and then resigned from Hollande’s cabinet to establish his own centrist political party, La République En Marche (LREM), and run for president himself. Macron approaches the presidency like a philosophical project, viewing it as a Gaullist, almost monarchic duty. He has framed himself as a reformist who wants France to reclaim its industrial sector, shed its bureaucratic dead weight, and lead the European Union (EU).