Emmanuel Macron lost two more ministers and a significant political ally on Wednesday, Francois Bayrou.
Having lost four ministers in three days, the French President is now planning a “government reshuffle,” less than a month since coming to office.
Bayrou is the leader of the MoDem party and until Wednesday served a minister of Justice. He lost most of his political credibility as three of his cabinet ministers are facing allegations of “fake jobs,” while his party has campaigned for years on a reformist ticket of “draining the swamp” politics.
Mr. Bayrou drafted a bill that entailed a ten-year ban from running for office for anyone caught to hire family, accept “gifts” or otherwise violate norms of political transparency. It should be recalled that this language of political lustration was a key to Macron’s election, as he managed to overcome the center-right candidate François Fillon who was revealed to have hired his wife, Penelope as a parliamentary assistant. Allegedly, she never did visit the parliament.
Bayrou now finds that all ministers of his MoDem political movement are embroiled with similar allegations. Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard – a former Member of the European Parliament – resigned on Tuesday, on allegations she used European Parliament funds to hire political staff for MoDem in France. The European Affairs Minister, Marielle de Sarnez, followed Bayrou on Wednesday for similar reasons.
The loss of Sarnez is considerable for Macron, who regarded her a key person for managing relations with Berlin.
More close to home, Macron saw his minister of regional cohesion, Richard Ferrand, resign on Monday. Ferrand is a former Socialist that played a key role in the transforming Macron’s Republic on the Move “movement” into a party. He not merely accused of handing his son a lucrative job as a parliamentary assistant but also of shady business dealings while he was the director of an insurance fund.
Beyond left and right?
Meanwhile, Macron continues to claim he is representing a movement that can transcend the right-left cleavage. Following him along this line is a newly formed splinter group of the Republican Party that will lend Macron their support in pro-business and security reforms.
In theory, this extends the seemingly unmatched political capital of Emmanuel Macron, who enjoys a parliamentary majority of 360 seats in a 577-seat parliament.