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Emmanuel Macron, a candidate in the costume of chief of the armies

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, in kyiv, February 8, 2022.

Even the very sober American daily The Wall Street Journal asked the question: “Is Emmanuel Macron trying to dress like Volodymyr Zelensky? » On March 14, in the midst of the Russian offensive on Ukraine, the official photographer of the Head of State, Soazig de La Moissonnière, broadcast on social networks an image of the President of the Republic wearing a hoodie flocked with the logo “CPA 10”, named after an air parachute commando. A communication artifact intended to signal that the tenant of the Elysée, like his Ukrainian counterpart in khaki, is in empathy with his troops.

Faced with mockery from the opposition, the presidential entourage clarified that the sweater had been offered to him by the members of the said commando, dispatched to Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 to secure the repatriation of the French settled there. In 2017, already, mockery had flared when Emmanuel Macron had presented himself on a base with an air force uniform on his back. Easier to put on the posture of a warlord than the habit for a president who is the first of the Vand Republic not to have done his military service.

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is impacting the campaign ahead of the April 10-24 presidential election, forcing candidates to (re)position themselves on defense issues, it is also shining the spotlight on the Emmanuel Macron’s record on the subject. On February 28, four days after the start of the war, the Head of State, all in assumed seriousness, had moreover transmitted to the armies an unprecedented message to assure them of his “personal confidence”. Recalling, just in case, that he occupies the role of chief of the armies.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers How Marine Le Pen was forgotten about the war in Ukraine

“I am your boss”

This end of term is thus the exact opposite of much of the five-year term, where the field of defense has often remained in the background. Firstly because of the predominance of social and health crises, but also because of a persistent “acoustic problem” with La Grande Muette, according to a close friend of the President of the Republic, after the initial scandal with the former Chief of the Armed Forces, General Pierre de Villiers. Shortly after Mr. Macron’s arrival at the Elysee Palace, the latter had expressed out loud, during a closed-door hearing at the National Assembly, his dissatisfaction with a plan to cut his budget. His remarks had been reported, and the young head of state, then 39 years old, saw it as a challenge to his authority.

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