With a colorless prime minister in Jean Castex — Mr. Macron has tended to be wary of anyone who might impinge on his aura — there have been few other compelling political figures able to carry the president’s campaign in his absence. His centrist political party, La République en Marche, has gained no traction in municipal and regional politics. It is widely viewed as a mere vessel for Mr. Macron’s agenda.
His government’s wide use of consulting firms, including McKinsey — involving spending of more than $1.1 billion, some of it on the best ways to confront Covid-19 — has also led to a wave of criticism of Mr. Macron in recent days. A former banker, Mr. Macron has often been attacked as “the president of the rich” in a country with deeply ambivalent feelings about wealth and capitalism.
Still, Mr. Macron has proved adept at occupying the entire central spectrum of French politics through his insistence that freeing up the economy is compatible with maintaining, and even increasing, the French state’s role in social protection. Prominent figures of the center-left and center-right attended his rally on Saturday.
Over the course of the past five years, he has shown both faces of his politics, first simplifying the labyrinthine labor code and spurring a start-up business culture, then adopting a policy of “whatever it costs” to save people’s livelihoods during the coronavirus pandemic. His handling of that crisis, after a slow start, is widely viewed as successful.
“He absolutely proved up to the task,” Mr. Tenzer said.