Macron must look to build a Sixth Republic

To mark the rentrée politique – when French politicians return to work after what is now an ostentatiously short holiday – Le Figaro ran a spread designed to crush the morale of any member of the French political class preparing to confront the challenges of the year ahead.

It pointed out that La République En Marche – the president’s party – was fragmented and resistant to being organised, and the president himself has approval ratings in the proverbial tank.

The Front National – now renamed Rassemblement National – is, according to leader Marine Le Pen, who was thrashed in last year’s presidential election, facing bankruptcy after €2m of state funds were blocked following allegations that the party had fictitious employees on its payroll. The party is accused of misusing €7m over a period of eight years.

Les Républicains, under Laurent Wauquiez, are said still to be in a phase of “reconstruction” – in other words, they are far from being able to agree on their way forward, despite the collapse in M Macron’s popularity.

As for the Parti Socialiste, they are in such a state that they have decided not even to ...

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