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POLITICS

French elections: 5 things you didn’t know about Emmanuel Macron

Two aspects of Emmanuel Macron's story are very well known - he created a new party was elected president at the age of just 39, having never before held elected office, and his wife is the much older woman who he met while he was just a teenager. But here's some things you might not know about him.

French elections: 5 things you didn't know about Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

1 He’s pretty nippy in midfield – We’re talking football here, Macron is a lifelong supporter of Olympique Marseille, despite being from Amiens which is pretty much the opposite end of the country to Marseille (although this is not usual, Paris-Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille have fans all over France).

He also plays, taking part in a charity football match in late 2021, where footage shows him taking a penalty. True to political form, his shot went straight down the centre to find the goal.

VIDEO Macron’s charity football game

2 He was actually only a banker for four years – One of the things that is often cited about Macron is that he’s a former investment banker – and it’s true he worked for the private Rothschild & Cie Banque between 2008 and 2012.

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But in his working life before becoming president at the age of 39, only four years were spent at the bank. The rest of his career was working as a technocrat and economic adviser, before taking up a role in François Hollande’s government in 2012.

3 He’s a bit of an anglophile – Undoubtedly a proud Frenchman, keen to restore France to glory on the world stage, Macron is also a fluent English-speaker and enjoys a bit of anglophone culture, according to his former PM Edouard Philippe, who revealed in his book that he and the president had discussed theories of power in relation to Star Wars and Game of Thrones.

Macron also has an English great-grandfather, although he never met him.

4 He is a (possibly erotic) novelist –  Macron has often said that his first dream was to become a writer and it’s known that as a very young man he wrote a book telling the story of a young man falling in love.

Very few people claim to have actually read this so it’s not clear whether is merely a romance or something a little spicier. If he has written erotica it doesn’t make him unusual – it seems to be practically compulsory for French politicians.

5 He has blue eyes like a lake in the sunshine – Well, that’s according to his economy minister Bruno Le Maire, who described Macron as having “a blue gaze tinted by metallic sparkles, like a lake burdened with sunshine whose surface it would have been impossible, under the scintillating reflections, to pierce” in his most recent book.

He certainly has blue eyes and he also appears to have the politician’s trick of charming his audience, many people report being convinced and converted after a one-to-one meeting with the president.  

And the thing that everyone ‘knows’

Macron has repeatedly paid tribute to the influence that his grandmother Manette, a teacher, had on his childhood.

But the other great influence on his life is another teacher, his wife Brigitte. The two have faced down decades of gossip, jokes and hostility due to their unconventional relationship with its 24-year age gap, which began when he was still at school and she was a teacher, married with teenage children.

But 26 years after meeting they are still together and after a rocky start Brigitte’s adult children from her first marriage now reportedly have a good relationship with the stepfather who is close to them in age. His stepchildren campaigned for him in 2017.

The couple have no children of their own, but have adopted a rescue dog – Nemo. 

Member comments

  1. His wife had an affair with her student – stop the whitewashing.

    In most countries that’s a crime, not “unconventional”.

    1. Utter nonsense. There was no “affair” when he was at school, no proof of any criminal conduct, despite several journalistic investigations, and then a number of books. It was a one-sided infatuation at that stage. She moved schools when she realised his attention was becoming the subject of rumours, and his parents then moved him to go to school in Paris, believing this to be a teenage fantasy that would disappear over time. She was married then, with three kids, but they kept in touch, and met openly when he was working, much later. The claim of “whitewashing” is often made, especially by his political opponents, but no friends, acquaintances, family or colleagues have ever hinted at anything untoward when he was at school, despite much encouragement to do so. Your claim is as baseless as it goes, and is entirely typical of the level of hostility they have met over the years since they married.

  2. Mike, you are totally lost. I live in France and I’ve never heard anyone defend him like you are.

    Macron’s parents asked her to stop contacting Emmanuel – she flat out refused. She refuses to say when their relationship became sexual – clearly something to hide.

    The list goes on and on, but I’m talking with some troll. Anyone else: 2 minutes of research and you find a wealth of info on this.

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POLITICS

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.

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