Ismaël Emelien departs as president reshuffles team in wake of gilets jaunes protests
'Emmanuel Macron’s closest special adviser has become the latest to quit the Élysée Palace as the French president reshuffles his team to counter the gilets jaunes anti-government protests and an ongoing scandal around a former security aide.
Ismaël Emelien, 31, had helped mastermind the 2017 election campaign in which Macron promised a mix of right- and leftwing ideas that would destroy France’s tired political party system. Emelien took the role at the Élysee after Macron’s defeat of the far-right Marine Le Pen in 2017, advising on how the now-president could continue to “disrupt” traditional politics.
The president is now making changes to his inner-circle. Macron’s young team has been accused of being caught off guard when the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) fuel tax revolt began in November and quickly morphed into a widespread protest against the executive.
This close-knit group of mainly young, male advisers, dubbed “The Mormons”, were seen as clever at digital messaging and strategy but distant from on-the-ground politics.
Emelien said he would leave in late March because he wanted to take a more public role and promote a book about progressive politics.
His name had recently surfaced in an investigation into Alexandre Benalla, Macron’s former security adviser, but both Emelien and the president’s office said the departure had nothing to do with a scandal that continues to trouble the executive.'
Read more: Key Macron aide quits Élysée as Benalla scandal deepens