Macron put to test in French municipal elections

PARIS (AFP) – Three years after President Emmanuel Macron swept to power promising a “revolution”, have French voters definitively soured on him?

The first round of municipal elections next weekend is expected to test backing for Macron’s ambitious reform agenda following a second winter of discontent marked by mass protests.

Polls showing Macron’s four-year-old Republic on the Move (LREM) party struggling in the March 15 vote, to be followed by a second round on March 22, which come amid a furore over the government’s decision to force through unpopular pension reforms by decree.

The elections also follow the “yellow vest” rebellion of 2018-2019, which lifted the lid on the widespread anger in rural France against a leader seen by critics as the president of the rich.

The coronavirus epidemic – which has killed a dozen and infected hundreds in France – looms large over the vote.