"It is a straight attack on [French President Emanuel] Macron’s image as being a fair, well educated, nice smiling young man. It will have a political impact as the opposition can use it against Macron. Such incident at long last gives them the ammunition to attack him," Dhuicq said, noting that not only his political opponents but also the French people have now questioned Macron’s harsh critique of the political elite for impunity during his election campaigns.
The politician went on to slam Macron's unprecedented concentration of power in the hands of the president and the excessive control over ruling party parliament members.
"Those who criticize power usually want to use and abuse it. Macron has built even more authoritarian system. No president in France before has concentrated so much power. For example, members of parliament who were elected from his party are much more controlled by their hierarchy, they have no freedom of speech and they can only repeat like parrots what they have been told to say to the media," he explained.
Sebastien Cochard, a former French diplomat, his turn, stressed in a comment to Sputnik that Benalla's role in the president's team was likely too important to sacrifice him to the public.
"It is all about the Elysee and the president and its services. And, yes, of course, the Elysee did not find anything really wrong about Benalla story apparently. This individual has probably an important personal role within the president’s team and he was covered," Cochard said, noting that Benalla was a private contractor recruited upon Macron’s personal will.
On Thursday, media reported that Paris prosecutors had launched a preliminary investigation into Benalla over a recent attack on an anti-government protester. The high-profile case broke out after a May 1 video emerged capturing a man in riot police gear, supposedly Benalla, who tackled a young rioter to the ground and punched him repeatedly before fleeing.
The Elysee spokesman said Thursday that Benalla had been suspended for 15 days and temporarily left without pay. On Friday, the Elysee announced the decision to launch the firing procedure over new facts that came to its attention, local media reported. The man has been placed in custody over violent actions "committed by a person holding public office," the broadcaster said, citing Paris prosecutors.