07:42 GMT09 July 2020
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    French President Emmanuel Macron's unexpected decision to postpone a meeting with his ministers to take a four day break sparked questions about the 40 year-year-old's stamina for the stressful job.

    Macron began his break following a working lunch with lawmakers in Hauts-de-France on Tuesday, with no meetings, public events or speeches scheduled for four days ahead of an upcoming six-day, 11 department, 17 city tour for centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War, Le Figaro has reported.

    Voicing its surprise, the newspaper pointed out that this was the first time Macron has done anything like this in his close to one-and-a-half years in office. It also pointed out that "exceptionally, the president even advanced the Council of Ministers meeting," normally taking place Wednesdays, to next Tuesday.

    Attributing the move to fatigue, a La Republique en marche spokesperson told France Info that the president was looking to "catch his breath" for a few days ahead of the commemorations, which will see him see him on the road until November 9. On November 11, he will oversee centenary commemorations, which will be attended by many foreign heads of state. A source close to the president told Le Figaro that Macron agreed to the break following pleas from his wife Brigitte.

    The move prompted some French media, including Le Figaro, to speculate on what this "unprecedented period of rest" means about Macron's state, with one of his staff claiming that "his face has changed" and that he has been weighed down "by the weight of power." A relative insisted however that Macron "has not changed one iota" since the election, and that he remains "vigilant" on all issues, but was just "a little tired."

    The president's unexpected break has also prompted criticism on social media, with some questioning Macron's stamina.

    "Poor thing! But no, I'm kidding! 40 years old and already tired after 18 months, it's a long time until 2022!"

    "What a shame! Macron is tired. We French are tired of his rash decisions, which make us poorer without improving the economic and social state of the country, far from it."

    "It looks like Macron is tired after 18 months. It seems to have been easier for him to count money at Rothschild Bank. I can only advise him to put #EnMarche in the rest home!!"

    Others simply ironically quoted Macron's own words about France needing "passionate people who get up early in the morning" and spend "tough days" at work "because they like their jobs" back to him.

    Some users came to Macron's defense, however, suggesting that the media was trying to stir up a storm in a teacup, and pointing out that November 1 is All Saints' Day, a public holiday in France, and that Macron's break wasn't really a big deal.

    President Macron's ratings have taken a hit in recent months due to his handling of the Benalla affair, his governing style, which has been described as "authoritarian," and his unpopular social and economic reforms. Last month, two separate polls found that only between 28 and 29 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with Macron's performance as president.


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