French President Emmanuel Macron Photograph:( Reuters )
Macron is fighting criticism at home and abroad and thousands of miles from Paris, there are people burning Macron's effigies
French President Emmanuel Macron is standing at a crucial juncture - it is a make or break moment for him.
When Macron came to power in 2017, he promised to "transform not reform" France. He called for an international roadmap to fight terrorism and promised zero tolerance for crimes. Macron is France's youngest president and three years into office, he has been dealing with multiple challenges.
Macron is fighting criticism at home and abroad and thousands of miles from Paris, there are people burning Macron's effigies, stepping on his photos, brandishing swords and calling for the boycott of French goods.
In Pakistan, things have spiralled out of control. The government bowed to Islamists and agreed to have the French envoy leave the country. Macron has suddenly become one of the world's most controversial leaders by standing up for the French constitution and for sovereignty, and freedom of expression.
He has cracked down on terror and called out political Islam and in doing so, he has become one of the most hated leaders in the Muslim world. There are countries standing by Macron as he fights radicalism but there are also countries like Pakistan. Leaders like Imran Khan, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysia's Mahathir Mohammad who are trying to build a chorus against Macron.
Macron's troubles do not end there, in Marseille, people have been protesting the Wuhan virus lockdown measures. Restaurant owners want the Macron government to allow businesses to reopen. Gym owners want their gyms to reopen, nightclub owners too have the same demand.
In Cannes, people are unhappy with the Macron government.
"We have been closed since October 15, there's no one around anymore. We've scheduled to open on April 1, because now, it's not worth it. Just to sell two rooms, money will just go down the drain. So it's unfortunate. Cannes runs on conventions. We haven't had a convention this year. It runs on national travel and flights," owner of hotel Pruly, Jean-luc Drouot, says.
Similar sentiments are being echoed across France where restrictions have been implemented to deal with the impact of the second wave of the Wuhan virus. After Macron's government proposed a security law which would make publishing images of police officers a criminal offence things have got worse for him.
The government says the proposal is intended to protect police officials and critics say it endangers journalists and observers who take photos and capture videos of the police conduct during demonstrations.
France is headed for a presidential election in 2022. Macron won 66 per cent of French votes in 2017 but a year into office he faced the yellow vest protests. Macron's approval rating fell to 29 per cent, now throw in the pandemic, and the humanitarian crisis it has brought along, add to that the global economic crisis, the protests against Macron at home and abroad...
A poll conducted in October found 63 per cent people disapproved of Macron. His popularity dropped by 3 per cent within a month. When Macron came to office in 2017, he promised to transform France and the French police system and promised to uphold secularism and fight terrorism.
If Macron manages to turn things around he will set an example for not just Europe but the entire world but if he slips, he loses office.