Macron Suffers Major Blow To Presidency As Star Minister Quits On Air

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 08/28/2018

French president Macron, his rating recently tumbling to a new post-election low, went into the summer break rolled by a scandal over a rogue aide and returned to a string of bad news on the economy and his reform agenda. But the biggest blow emerged out of the blue on Tuesday when his star minister for energy and the environment, Nicolas Hulot, the most popular member of Macron’s cabinet, announced he is stepping down during a live interview, citing frustration with a lack of progress on green issues.

Hulot, 63, a TV celebrity and veteran environmental activist, joined Macron’s government in May last year and has since struggled to fit in with other members of the cabinet and its general policies.

Speaking to France Inter radio on Tuesday morning, he said last night he decided to resign, citing an “accumulation of disappointments” with the government’s failure to stand up to lobbying and give a priority to climate change, threats to biodiversity and other environmental issues that urgently needed to be addressed.

The former minister specifically blamed the lack of action to protect the environment against pesticides or land destruction and in sheltering biodiversity, among other causes he sought to promote. Hulot, a vocal environmentalist for decades who made television programs about nature, was one of Macron’s most prominent ministers. He said he hadn’t notified the president or the prime minister ahead of his radio announcement; he added that Macron had his respect and friendship, but the decision to step down was up to him.

While not the first minister to quit, Hulot’s critique is particularly cutting for Macron, who came to power last year saying that his election was the embodiment of France’s transformation, even revolution. One day after a foreign-policy speech loaded with grand ambitions, the resignation is a reminder that Macron’s presidency hinges on the success or failure of his domestic program.

“It takes time to change things in a country and Macron knows it, but what we see now is a climate, a change of mood in France over his actions,” said Bernard Sananes, who heads Paris- based polling institute Elabe. “He’s facing severe headwinds.”

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