French bodyguard at centre of Macron scandal to appear for senate testimony

French bodyguard at centre of Macron scandal to appear for senate testimony

President Emmanuel Macron’s former bodyguard will face a grilling from senators in Paris today after a video allegedly showed him

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron and Elysee senior security officer Alexandre Benalla arrive at an elementary school to attend a one-hour interview with French news channel TF1, in Berd’huis

Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

President Emmanuel Macron’s former bodyguard will face a grilling from senators in Paris today after a video allegedly showed him beating a protester.

Despite firing the bodyguard, Mr Macron has faced severe criticism over the incident. This has had serious implications for the reformist president’s popularity, which hit a record low of 29% in September from a high of 62% in May 2017 after his election. Macron’s dismissal of the incident as a “storm in a teacup” has fed perceptions that the Elysee Palace is arrogant and autocratic.

While the lower house is controlled by Macron’s centrist party, the upper house is controlled by the opposition. As such, the centre-right Republicans will likely draw out today’s public hearing to maximise political damage to the president.

Macron has a schedule of reforms to be introduced in the months ahead, including contentious pension reforms which will likely spur public opposition. While the upper house can’t fully block these efforts if strong support is maintained in the lower house, it can slow down the reform process and inflict further poll damage to the President. Should this happen, Macron has shown no hesitation recently in bypassing parliament altogether and advancing reforms via decrees.

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