President Macron of France faces grassroots court challenge over party rules
French President, Emmanuel Macron, faced the first grassroots revolt from his own camp on Monday when hundreds of activists asked a court to halt voting on new rules for the political party that helped him win power in May.
The challenge came on the heels of a poll showing a slump in the 39-year-old president’s approval rating after a series of politically testing events, including a budget row that prompted the head of the army to quit.
Members of Macron’s Republic on the Move party, which espouses a break with old ways of doing politics, are taking part in an electronic vote on new party statutes due to end on July 31.
The activists involved in the legal challenge said they number about 1,200, a fraction of the LREM’s total membership of more than 375,000.
They revealed a degree of discontent in the ranks with Macron’s forceful style of leadership.
The group said that the disputed statutes would limit decision-making and future internal ballots to the LREM’s upper echelons.
The activists said: “This ‘lockout’ exposes a lack of trust in party members and looks at odds with LREM (party) values.
“The lack of internal democracy is even more distasteful due to the fact that it’s all been done in a rush in the middle of the summer without proper consultation of activists.”
A party spokesperson brushed off the accusations.
She said that LREM was giving a bigger role to grassroots members in its structures than other French parties and had further increased that power after consulting members earlier this month.
A ruling is expected on Thursday in the case after a hearing on Monday.
Macron, who swept to power on promises of non-partisan rule and an end to traditional Left-versus-Right politics, has had a tough month, marked by a public row over military spending cuts with top armed forces chief General Pierre de Villiers that led to de Villiers’ resignation.