Contributor at the Bruges Group think tank, Dr Niall McCrae, told Express.co.uk Emmanuel Macron‘s chances of re-election may be harmed thanks to his draconian Covid restrictions. The introduction of vaccine passports in France have been effective in curbing Covid cases and significantly increasing vaccinations but angry French citizens have protested week after week against the restrictions. Mr McCrae explained the electorate will have the chance to hold Mr Macron account in the 2022 election and believes he may lose voters to more lockdown sceptical candidates.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr McCrae believed Mr Macron’s popularity may take a hit come the 2022 French presidential election due to his unpopular handling of the pandemic.
Dr McCrae explained: “I think a very important thing and the elephant in the room that has been missed out is that there is a huge social turmoil in France at the moment.
“Macron is a figure of hate because he has taken the Covid regime to extreme lengths, with the [vaccine passport].
“This had led to huge demonstrations for consecutive weeks in every major town and city throughout France.
“And there’s a danger we could carry out this discussion as if it were pre-Covid times.
“But Macron’s position is very much threatened not because of all the things that have been mentioned but because he has imposed the most draconian and extreme of Covid tyranny if you like.”
Mr Macron announced the introduction of vaccine passports over the summer to try and encourage French citizens to go and get vaccinated.
France was seeing a slump in appointments with analysts pointing out vaccine hesitancy was rife among the population.
The French president was also guilty of downplaying the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine with some civilians waiting to see if they could receive a Moderna or Pfizer one instead.
The vaccine passport would prevent unvaccinated people from entering public venues such as bars, restaurants, museums and public transport.
Health workers would also be mandated to receive the vaccine or face fines.
Hundreds of thousands of people have protested against the health pass since it was introduced with anti-lockdown protesters in Poitiers destroying a portrait of Mr Macron which was displayed in a town hall.
Despite the condemnation from the public, the decision from Mr Macron has generally paid off with the country’s vaccination rate now on par with the UK’s.
Following the decision to introduce the passports, nearly a million vaccine appointments were made within 24-hours of the announcement.
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French media also report nearly four million people were vaccinated in the 15 days of the announcement.
This is despite France’s noticeable vaccine hesitancy at the beginning of the year with some vaccine centres having to close early as people refused to turn up.
In April, French nurses working in vaccination centres in the north of France found hundreds of unused doses left behind over the weekend – indicating many refused to turn up to their appointments.
Around 600 doses were found in Calais with neighbouring towns also seeing people not receiving their vaccines.
Towns Gravelines and Boulogne-sur-Mer also had left over doses from the weekend with around 800 no-shows between them.
Valenciennes to the south east of Calais had over 900 doses left behind.
According to Politico’s poll of polls, Mr Macron leads with 24 percent approval with his closest rival, Marine Le Pen, polling at 17 percent.