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French president's TV interview draws high audience

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-16 22:17

PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron's two hours and half interview with BFMTV news channel, RMC radio and Mediapart investigative magazine on Sunday have drawn 3.8 million viewers.

Millions of French people turned in to watch the president's interview, the second one in a week, representing a 16.4 percent audience share, BFMTV's second best result since its creation in 2005, it said.

"It's a good news for the Elysee," said Mathieu Croissandeau, a political analyst at BFMTV, adding that the president overcame the challenge to explain his policy in two interviews in a week.

"A wrestling match between a president and interviewers sometimes gave the feeling that could exclude attendance. But, the result was there and the French have been interested to see the president who is good when he is in front of the opponents who do not spare him," he added.

Cornered by robust opposition to his reforms and losing public support that handed him the power a year ago, Macron decided to hit the airwaves last week to defend policy and dry up critics and social strains ignited by a wave of strikes at SNCF rail operator, civil servants, students, energy workers, rubbish collectors and Air France flag carrier.

Macron on Sunday rejected critics which say he has a monarchical way of governing. "Yes I believe in authority, but authority doesn't mean being almighty," he replied.

"I am determined and I do not like intellectual dishonesty so I fight it. My objective is to reconcile and unite the country but we will not unite it by inaction, giving in to the tyranny of certain minorities who have become used to one yields to them, refusing to transform the country," he said.

The 40-year-old president who had only accepted to speak up in two live interviews since his election, staged a TV battle to gain back public support for his disputed reforms.

"This is the type of situation that best suits him...he loves fighting, he loves the debate, so I think that last night he was particularly served," Bruno Cautres, a political scientist told France info radio earlier on Monday.

"Emmanuel Macron has tried to show that he was not the caricature of the president of the rich or the president who decides everything. We see an Emmanuel Macron who, for some time, uses all his communication springs to address to different segments of opinion," he added.

Cited by local media, the Elysee hailed the president's performance, saying "they came to paint the portrait of an autocrat, they had a democrat against them. "

However, opposition saw the other face of the coin.

Far-rightist leader Marine Le Pen who lost 2017 election race to Macron with a large margin, admitted that the head of state had been "undeniably combative" but representing "the worst of the right and the worst of the left."

An Elabe poll released on April 15 showed 44 percent respondents thought Macron's policy was "disappointing," with a large majority considering that his economic proposals are rather in favor of the rich.

Appearing on TF1 television channel on Thursday, the France's youngest head of state in modern history, affirmed that gaining back public opinion " is not an objective in itself," vowing to continue reforming at the same pace.

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