January 3, 2019 / 9:42 PM / 8 months ago

Three-quarters of French unhappy with Macron's government - poll

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron attends a joint news conference with President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore (not seen) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Three-quarters of French people are unhappy with the way President Emmanuel Macron and his government are running the country, with a majority keen to see more measures to boost household incomes, a poll showed on Thursday.

A wave of “yellow vest” street protests in the past two months have rocked Macron’s presidency, forcing him into policy concessions including scrapping a planned fuel tax rise to try and defuse anger over a perceived squeeze on family budgets.

Facing the sternest challenge of his 20-month tenure, Macron has since vowed to press on with other reform pledges, however, like tackling unemployment benefits or overhauling the civil service, even as the protest movement rumbles on.

Only 25 percent of people surveyed by Odoxa and Dentsu Consulting for franceinfo and the Figaro newspaper said they were satisfied with the French government’s measures and action since Macron came to power in mid-2017.

The poll of 1,004 people, carried out on Jan. 2 and 3, compared to one from April 2018, when 59 percent of those surveyed were unhappy with the government versus 75 percent now.

The biggest political priority for 54 percent of French people was finding measures to boost purchasing power, the poll found, while reducing unemployment, long the number one worry, slipped to become the fourth most urgent concern.

Support for the “yellow vest” demonstrations, which have brought disruption and destruction to Paris and other major cities, has also dwindled somewhat versus earlier surveys, and following Macron’s bid to meet some of the protesters’ demands.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they thought the protests should carry on, compared to 54 percent on Dec. 11 and 66 percent on Nov. 22 shortly after the movement erupted.

Reporting by Sarah White and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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