PARIS (REUTERS) - Emmanuel Macron steps into European elections this month, a president bruised by months of "yellow vest" protests against his economic policies.
He beat Ms Marine Le Pen in 2017's presidential election but now, two years on, many candidates from Mr Macron's En Marche! party are level in the polls with Ms Le Pen's far-right National Rally.
Sciences Po University's political researcher and expert in politics Bruno Cautres said: "If he doesn't win, everyone, in France and elsewhere in Europe, will see it as a sign that Emmanuel Macron has lost some of the aura he had, and that he has lost much of his capacity to reform France and Europe."
Mr Macron's party frames the campaign as a straight fight between progressives and conservatives.
A tactic which could prove risky
Mr Cautres continues: "If Macron's party doesn't win the European elections, it means he's failed at being what he told the French he would be, what his primary objective was: beating the National Rally." The "yellow vests" have protested for nearly six months.
Polls show many French are unconvinced about Mr Macron's response in late April, which included income tax cuts for workers of up to US$5.6 billion (S$7.6 billion).
The EU elections will be held on May 26.