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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Emmanuel Macron quits the French government

There’s little surprise in France that (former investment banker), Emmanuel Macron has quit his post as Minister of Economy (Industry and Digital Affairs) to (according to many political pundits) prepare for a shot at the top job in next year’s presidential elections.

It has been on the cards for quite some time, and especially so, since the founding of his own (good Socialist, that he isn’t) Centrist movement, En Marche, in April 2016.

Emmanuel Macron (screenshot BFM TV)

But there might well be a few raised eyebrows over the choice of his replacement.

It’s none other than the current Minister of Finance, Michel Sapin, a long-serving politician who was a classmate of the French president, François Hollande, (and Ségolène Royal, come to that) at the École nationale d'administration (Voltaire promotion of 1978-80).

Michel Sapin (screenshot BFM TV)

Yes, the two men go back a long time. Not only did they study together, they also shared a room during military service back in 1977.

If such a thing as friendship exists in the weird (and not so wonderful) world of French politics, then maybe that term can be used to describe the relationship between the two men.

And that means Hollande has an ally and someone he can trust to tell him the truth, if not of his chances of being re-elected next year (pretty slim to nil would be the wise man’s bet) then about the outcome for the Socialist party in the National Assembly elections slated for June 2017.

Because, as the managing editor of the weekly news magazine “L’Express” (and proud wearer of scarf)  Christophe Barbier, pointed out at the end of his slot on BFM TV’s "Première Édition", it’s not the first time Sapin has held the post.

Get in your time machine and travel back to  1992 when Sapin was similarly appointed to the “super ministry” of Economy and Finance.

And then fast forward - ever so slowly (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) just one year later - March 1993, to be precise - when the governing Socialist party suffered its worst electoral meltdown returning just 53 members to the National Assembly.

“The worst electoral defeat for the Left - apart from that perhaps in 2017,” commented Barbier.

Food for thought - n’est-ce pas M. le President?

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