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3 Jan, 2019 16:35

Macron’s spin director to quit amid scandals and growing Yellow Vest anger

Macron’s spin director to quit amid scandals and growing Yellow Vest anger

Emmanuel Macron’s communications director, who shaped the presidential campaign message, has resigned. It is yet another high-profile departure, with the president’s ratings down after several scandals and nationwide protests.

Citing personal reasons for the resignation, Sylvain Fort said on Thursday that he would leave the job at the end of January, telling France Info radio station that he had informed the president of the decision several weeks ago.

“After two years and a half of relentless work serving the candidate and later our president, I wish to pursue other professional and personal projects, and above all dedicate more time to my family,” he told AFP in a statement.

His resignation follows that of former Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, who left his post in October, following a dip in relations with the president.

Europe 1 radio has also reported that Macron’s strategy chief, Ismael Emelien, is also seeking to resign. However, this has yet to be confirmed by the presidential palace.

During his stint as a spin doctor, Fort played an integral role in shaping Macron’s political messaging during a grueling presidential election campaign that saw the political novice pip right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen to the Elysee Palace.

Following the election, Fort took a step back from the political limelight, instead settling into the role of Macron’s chief speechwriter. However, he returned to a front-line role in the summer following the Benalla Affair – a scandal and attempted cover-up involving Macron’s former bodyguard beating May Day protesters.

READ MORE: Benalla confirms post-sacking contact with Macron, says powerful people make president do ‘BULLS**T’

Since then, other incidents that have soured public opinion of the president include him posing with middle-finger waving gangsters in Saint Martin, and reports of a lavish lifestyle have led to accusations that he is out of touch and that he had ambitions of being a ‘Jupiterian’ leader.

However, the biggest challenge facing Macron, who entered 2019 with a record-low approval rating, is that of the Yellow Vest movement. Initially angered at proposed fuel price hikes, the movement has now widened its focus to include tackling Macron’s pro-business agenda, which they say favors the rich.

But a defiant Macron used his New Year’s message to reaffirm his commitment to his reform agenda, saying: "We can’t work less, earn more, cut taxes and increase spending.”

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