Who Is Emmanuel Macron? Rise Of An Unknown Face To French Election Favorite

Mon, 08 May 2017 10:12 IST

Here's a timeline of his rise to prominence.

Who Is Emmanuel Macron? Rise Of An Unknown Face To French Election Favorite
Macron is a centrist who never stood for elections before

A civil servant who became a millionaire investment banker and eventually a government minister is now the youngest President of France. Welcome Emmanuel Macron, a complete unknown four years ago.

The founder of the political movement "En Marche!", Macron is a centrist who never stood for elections before, did not have the backing of a traditional party and had no constituency or firm voter base. No wonder, he was branded by critics as inexperienced, having served only as Economy minister as his most senior role for just two years.

A part of Macron's allure is his atypical rise from a civil servant to a popular presidential nominee. He can present himself as anti-establishment to those disaffected by the fractious nature of French politics.

He is staunchly pro-European, wants to put France back at the heart of the European Union and defend the bloc's single market. He has styled himself as a progressive maverick who is ‘neither Left nor right’, economically liberal, pro-business but left wing on social issues, including on the freedom to practice religion in a secular state, equality and immigration.

In his unorthodox private life and short political career, France's new president Emmanuel Macron has battled conventions and broken with traditions. The 39-year-old son of two doctors from the northeastern city of Amiens - breaks the mold of a traditional French leader, apart from his elite education in some of the country's best universities.

He is married to his former teacher, glamorous 64-year-old Brigitte Trogneux, a divorced mother of three children whom he fell in love with as a schoolboy. Their relationship has been a subject of fascination, often encouraged by the media-savvy Macron, in French glossy magazines.

He has also charted one of the most unlikely paths to the presidency in modern history, from virtual unknown three years ago to a leader with no established political party behind him.

Here's a timeline of his rise to prominence:

2010: Macron, a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), joins Socialist Francois Hollande's entourage before the future president emerges as favourite to win his party's nomination.

Early 2012: With Hollande now the Socialist candidate, Macron has his first public disagreement with his boss on economic policy, calling his plan to tax top incomes at 75 percent "Cuba without the sun".

May 15, 2012: Macron named deputy secretary general of the Elysee by President Hollande. In charge of economic affairs, Hollande's personal envoy at G8, G20 and European summits. He lobbies for more pro-business reforms.

Dec 31, 2013: Hollande, elected on a tax, spend and anti-bank platform, makes a pro-business U-turn, announcing what will be a 40 billion euro tax break for companies.

June 10, 2014:  Macron resigns as Hollande's top economic policy adviser after jostling for power with other members of the president's staff. Plans to launch consultancy firm "Macron Partners" and to teach in London and Berlin.

Aug 26, 2014: Hollande sacks his leftist economy minister Arnaud Montebourg for criticising the U-turn. Macron named in his place.

Feb 17, 2015: After hours of debate, Macron's flagship labour market deregulation bill is forced through parliament under special government powers by Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Aug 28, 2015: Macron says the left is wrong to think France can move ahead by working less - an open attack on the 35-hour-week rules cherished by many in the country.

Nov 9, 2015: Macron makes a high-profile presentation at the finance ministry to showcase the second installment of his deregulation bill. It was dubbed "Macron 2".

Nov 13, 2015:  Militant Islamist attacks in Paris kill 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall, nearby bars and restaurants, and at a sports stadium on the edge of the capital.

Nov 21, 2015: Macron tells French think-tank that stresses in French society are "partly responsible" for such attacks.

Nov 25, 2015: Valls criticises Macron in public, saying in parliament that no-one should find "social, sociological and cultural excuses" for such attacks.

Dec 24, 2015: Macron sends a letter to Hollande and Valls pressing them to accelerate reforms to address economic and social issues in the wake of the attacks. The letter remains unanswered.

Jan 20, 2016: "Macron 2" bill cancelled, measures chopped up and distributed to other ministers.

Feb 11, 2016: Valls reshuffles government. Macron demoted two places in cabinet pecking order.

March 12, 2016: "Youth with Macron" thinktank launched, fuelling rumours about higher political ambitions.

April 6, 2016: Macron launches a new political movement, "En Marche!", in his hometown of Amiens.

May 28, 2016: Macron begins a door-to-door national campaign to canvass views on how France should change.

July 12, 2016: Macron tells a rally in Paris that he will go "all the way", in comments seen by some Socialists as a provocation to Hollande just two days before his traditional presidential address on Bastille Day.

July 14, 2016: Truck attack kills 86 people in Nice. It later emerges that Macron postpones, as a result, his plan to resign from the government.

Aug 11, 2016: Paris Match magazine cover with Macron and his wife Brigitte in swimsuits. "Love holiday before the offensive" is the headline.

Aug 30, 2016: Macron resigns from the government.

Oct 4, 2016: Macron holds a rally in Strasbourg to present his "diagnosis" for the country. Two others follow in Le Mans and Montpellier.

Nov 16, 2016: Macron officially declares a bid for the presidency.

Nov 27, 2016: Former prime minister Francois Fillon wins conservative presidential ticket

Dec 1, 2016: Hollande says will not seek re-election.

Dec 5, 2016: Valls launches bid for Socialist nomination.

Dec 10, 2016: Macron holds a big rally in Paris, 10,000 people attend.

Jan 24, 2017: Fillon hit by fake jobs allegations in Le Canard Enchaine.

Jan 29, 2017: Leftist Benoit Hamon wins Socialist primaries, Valls eliminated.

Feb 1, 2017: Macron overtakes Fillon in the presidential polls, seen qualifying for the second round alongside far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and winning that run-off.

Feb 22, 2017: Macron wins the backing of veteran centrist Francois Bayrou, jumps 5 points in opinion polls in following days

April 23, 2017: Macron takes a big step towards the presidency by winning the first round of voting with 24 percent and qualifying for a runoff against Le Pen.

April 24, 2017: Macron comes under fire for celebrating his first-round result with staff and celebrities at a chic Left Bank brasserie, feeding accusations of complacency.

April 26, 2017: Le Pen sets a public relations to trap for Macron when she shows up among striking workers at a Whirlpool factory in Amiens the day he was meeting their union representatives a few miles away.

May 4, 2017: Macron and Le Pen clash in a rancorous final TV debate from which the former minister emerges victorious, according to opinion polls.

May 5, 2017: Macron's campaign says it is the victim of a "massive and co-ordinated" hack, with thousands of internal emails leaked just hours before an official media blackout on campaigning.