– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on July 24, Monday.
According to IFOP, French President Emmanuel Macron's popularity rating has slumped by 10 percentage points this month and it is the steepest decline for a new president, since 1995.
The poll showed that 47% of respondents rated "somewhat satisfied" with Macron and only 7% rated "very satisfied". However, in June, last month, the ratings were at 54% and 10% respectively. On the other hand, respondents who were "very dissatisfied" with Macron increased from 12% to 15%, and those who were "rather dissatisfied" with him went up from 23% to 28%.
This rapid decline in Macron's popularity rating only goes to show that the French's high expectations of his first two months of candidacy are slowly dissipating and in fact, turning into disappointment, perhaps marking the end of Macron's honeymoon period. Two main factors result in this. Firstly, it is due to the dispute over French's defense budget. Secondly, it is due to future economic reforms that Macron is likely to implement.
Macron planned to reduce the military budget by 850 million Euros by the end of this fiscal year. However, the head of French armed forces vehemently opposed, expressing that if budget cuts were to go through, he would not be able to guarantee a robust defense system needed to protect France and her people. As such, he tendered his resignation which Macron later accepted.
No chief of staff has resigned since this post was created in its present in 1962. General Pierre Villiers' resignation marked the first, causing great unrest amongst the French as they felt that Macron was too harsh. This, as a result, caused his public image to take a blow.
Besides, the decline of Macon's ratings is also caused by the French dissatisfaction towards his tightening of the social welfare system by raising social security taxes and restoring a one-day unpaid leave. Although French had high hopes during the start of his term, things slowly took a turn and Macron's ratings went down when he started to implement the various reforms. To some analysts, plainly put, this was predictable as polices, after its implementation, are bound to clash with certain groups of people. Yet, various economic leaders are still hopeful of Macon's reforms.
[Sergio Ermotti, CEO, UBS] "If you look at France, Macron in itself is a change. He's a very untypical figure. He's not a populist, but he's a change. So I think that in France people are able to find a solution that was not extreme. Now Macron needs to fulfill the expectations on him; they are extremely high."
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.