An ‘unstable’ Macron could resign after the French vote in the second round

Emmanuel Macron could be “unpredictable” or even “unstable” after Sunday’s second-round parliamentary elections, top aides have warned.

“I know the man – this is not science fiction,” a former top adviser told the Telegraph of the French president, whose snap election could leave his core coalition with half of his MPs this month last.

The latest polls suggested that Marine Le Pen’s (RN) National Rally would fall without a majority, leaving a chaotic patchwork of parties – from the hard left to the center – to form a government, or plunge France into political paralysis.

Mr Macron enjoyed throwing an “unpinned grenade” at the French political establishment and electorate by dissolving parliament after winning the EU elections, according to an Elysée source.

Marine Le Pen speaks to reporters on Monday

Le Pen could be president if the current polls are done – Benoit Tessier/Reuters

But he now faces the final three years of his presidency with no clear majority, and even his closest allies fear that the grenade could become a cluster bomb if he resigns. An early presidential election could put Mr. Le Pen in the Elysée, if the current polls are accurate.

In a letter to the French people two weeks ago in the regional daily press, Mr Macron insisted he would not stand down. “You can trust me to serve as your president until May 2027,” he wrote.

When Le Figaro Magazine asked him if he had “lost the plot”, as some suggested, he said: “No, not at all. I can confirm that it is not. I’m only thinking about France.”

However, one loyal cabinet member said: “In seven years, I had the opportunity to spend hours with [Mr Macron]. One day, he can promise you right to your face, and the next day do the complete opposite. Completely the opposite.

“So when he says: I will never leave, I have doubts,” the MP told Le Parisien.

“He swore to us that he would not draw any national conclusions from the European elections and we got the truce. He is capable of anything,” said another. “I don’t know what’s going on in his head. It has become a blur,” said a third.

They pointed to Mr Macron’s strange decision to pop a champagne cork last Sunday – as the humiliating first round election results came in – to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The results have left his Ensemble camp in disarray, likely to drop from 250 seats to as few as 118 in Sunday’s second round vote.

“Has he lost touch with reality that long?” asked one senior Cabinet minister.

“Our MPs are being wiped off the legislative map and he is taking a moment to toast his friends. What is the next step? He resigns, Le Pen is elected president, and a big ball is organized in the Elysée party room to celebrate his departure?”

‘Howling Mad Murdoch’

Strange photographs taken last Sunday of Mr Macron in shades and a flight jacket in Le Touquet prompted social media comparisons with Captain HM “Howling Mad” Murdock, the fictional pilot in the hit 1980s TV series The A-Team who was advertised as out of his condition.

Mr Macron sports a baseball cap, scarf and leather jacket as he walks with his wife - colors not visibleMr Macron sports a baseball cap, scarf and leather jacket as he walks with his wife - colors not visible

Mr Macron’s rare appearance in Le Touquet prompted A-Team comparisons – Ludovic Marin/AFP

Theories abound as to Mr Macron’s reasoning for dissolving parliament, some suggesting he hoped to oust the RN as a group of charlatans in government and thus stop Ms Le Pen from being elected president in 2027.

His father Jean-Michel Macron offered some insight this week, saying: “It is better for France to experience [the RN in power] for two years than for five.

“If the RN shows in two years that it is completely incapable of governing, we can expect it to go no further. That’s what my son told me two months before the European elections,” he told Le Dauphiné Libéré, a regional newspaper.

Three years as a lame duck?

However, some commentators fear that the prospect of being a lame duck until 2027 may be too much for the hyperactive 46-year-old.

In the Ipsos Talan poll on Friday the RN won 170-205 seats, a big increase on the current 89 but well below the 289 needed for a clear majority.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that the Socialists, Communists and Greens could form a “republican front”, with Mr Macron’s exhausted center camp and centre-right Republican MPs who have not joined Ms Le Pen.

The Leftist France Unbowed, whose ex-Trotskyite firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has, however, ruled out joining a “republican face”.

Either way, Mr Macron is presiding over a power-sharing “cohabitation”, in which his role will be limited to foreign and defense policy – and even then, his wings as an international statesman are likely to be clipped.

Ms Le Pen has already called on Mr Macron to leave if his party is heavily defeated, saying that in the face of a reshuffle and fresh elections being impossible, “it is the only way out of a possible political crisis than for the president to succeed”

However, some observers say he will do no such thing.

“The guy is really hyper-rational,” said one aide. “It will never get better. He is very lucid … He knows if he did [go]it would spell the end of the Fifth Republic [and leave Ms Le Pen in power].”

An MP from Mr Macron’s Renaissance party said: “I’m sure he’s not thinking about that, it’s not in line with the type of person he is. He couldn’t be bothered to dissolve others. But dissolving himself, that’s not his thing.”

Another MP the reality was more prosaic. “He is neither God nor a mental patient. He is just the man who made a big mistake.”

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