Political leadership in contemporary France: the case of Emmanuel Macron

2020-02-10T15:55:01Z (GMT) by Helen Drake
Constitutionally and institutionally, the French president has significant power and powers at his disposal (there has yet to be a female French president). In addition, the presidency comes wrapped in symbolic resources that are derived from a rich repertoire of history and myth. Yet popular support for the office and its holder is on the decline. The election of Emmanuel Macron to the presidency in May 2017 was inevitably and widely interpreted as an opportunity to halt the trend, such are the high expectations of leadership in general, and the French presidency in particular. But contemporary Europe is under acute strain from populist pressures, and France is no exception to this rule. Defiance of authority, whether personalised or institutionalised has posed a serious challenge to the legitimacy of President Macron. This chapter will explore how to date, France’s latest incumbent of the ‘throne’ is marshalling the forces of charisma and disruption to bolster his mandate in circumstances that are inherently inimical to the exercise of political leadership, and which open the possibility for ‘tricksters’ to emerge in the space created by failure.