Macron Has Gone Quiet Ahead of a Key Vote. His Group Is Grateful

(Bloomberg) -- It’s been five days since Emmanuel Macron was last seen in public. And there are no indications that there’ll be any presidential sightings before the decisive second round of the legislative vote on Sunday.

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His press office says he currently has no speaking engagements scheduled before the election. The French president is hunkering down at the Elysee Palace, where he gathered his cabinet on Wednesday.

The disappearing act is not in character for a leader known to rarely go for more than a few of days without a speech, an interview, or some sort of public event. But to some in his camp, the low profile is to be welcomed. There’s a sense that the less Macron speaks, the better it is for government-related candidates, they said, declining to be identified discussing private deliberations.

A poll published June 21 showed that Macron’s approval rating has fallen to match a historic low.

Macron was last spotted in public when he strolled the streets of the French coastal town of Le Touquet in a leather bomber jacket just hours before the scale of his party’s defeat against Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally in the first round became known.

In the lead up to that round, his aides had wanted him to keep a low profile, especially given the depth of his unpopularity. But the president, known for his loquaciousness, didn’t heed their advice. He did a two-hour podcast interview, warning that France faced “civil war” if extreme parties gained ground.

Le Pen’s National Rally scored an emphatic victory in the first round. Sunday’s second round will come down to one basic question: Will Le Pen secure an absolute majority? Pollsters’ projections suggest it’s an unlikely outcome after Macron’s group, the left-wing New Popular Front and other parties opposed to the National Rally strategically pulled 223 candidates out of constituencies with more than two people in an effort to avoid splitting opposition to the far right.

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