According to a new poll, 80 percent of the French public support a proposal backed by the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement that would allow citizens to propose referendums that would create new laws.
The Citizen Initiated Referendum (RIC) would allow French citizens to propose their own laws that would then be voted on by the general public in a referendum that could effectively bypass the French parliament, broadcaster RTL reports.
According to the Yellow Vest movement, the RIC would not be limited to just proposing new laws but would have several other functions including repealing existing laws and referendums on amendments to the French constitution.
The movement also backs the idea of a RIC to, “dismiss any politician, the president, a minister, a deputy or any other elected official,” which given French President Emmanuel Macron’s historic low approval ratings could put his position as French leader in jeopardy should such a referendum occur.
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Supporters of the populist Rassemblement National (RN) led by former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, along with the far-left France Insoumise of Jean-Luc Melenchon, both overwhelmingly support the proposal while members of Macron’s Le Republique En Marche! (LREM) are less enthusiastic.
In his New Year’s speech, President Macron announced his government would be launching a “grand debate” on the future direction of the country and address the concerns of the Yellow Vests.
The respondents of the RTL poll showed far less enthusiasm for Macron’s proposal with 50 percent saying they believed the government would take into account the opinions of the French citizenry and 47 percent saying the Macron government would likely ignore their concerns.
Some have expressed concerns about the RIC proposal and the consequences of more direct democracy in France such as LREM MP Stanislas Guerini who said he feared the return of the death penalty which was abolished in France in 1981.
Despite giving in to the initial Yellow Vest demands and scrapping the proposed fuel tax hike and raising the minimum wage among other measures, President Macron continues to face opposition from the movement who he also referred to as a “hateful crowd” in his New Year’s speech.