I have a question about grammar in this Economist article:
In the coming days, Mr Macron will begin to take in the full measure of what he has achieved, but also of the burden of the task ahead. He will appoint a provisional government but then needs to secure, or stitch together, a governing majority in parliament after two-round elections in June. However constitutionally powerful the French president, he cannot enact reforms without the political backing of parliament.
How does the last sentence differ from the following version:
...However constitutionally powerful the French president is, he cannot enact reforms without the political backing of parliament.
, with "is" inserted after "the French president"?
The example in the Economist article inspired a similar question about the difference between the following pair of sentences:
1a: Whatever the problem, getting into a fist fight is not the solution.
1b: Whatever the problem is, getting into a fist fight is not the solution.
Is that "is" required?