Marine Le Pen Calls For ‘Referendum Revolution’ To Hand Power Back To The People

French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen ad
THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in the run up to April 24 French Presidential Election, populist candidate Marine Le Pen has called for a “referendum revolution” to put sweeping policy changes to a democratic vote, claiming President Emmanuel Macron has given power to technocrats.

Ms Le Pen gave a press conference in Eure on Wednesday, stating that she would like to see a policy developed in which citizens can initiate referendums on topics, a policy that was a central demand of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protest movement that has been a major feature of the Macron era government.

“I intend, during my mandate, to consult the only expert that Emmanuel Macron has never consulted: the people,” Le Pen said during her press conference, which some have suspected may be a bid to win over voters of the far-left former candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who placed third in the first round of the French presidential elections.

According to a report from the newspaper Les Echos, Le Pen announced two main policies she wishes to implement if elected president in the second round of voting.

The first is a demand to change the electoral system for French parliamentary elections to proportional representation, for at least two-thirds of the seats in the parliament.

Currently, the parliament uses a two-round system similar to the presidential elections. A change to proportional representation could see parties like Le Pen’s National Rally gain far more seats as despite nationally polling third in the 2017 parliamentary elections, the RN (formerly the Front National), won fewer seats than other parties with less overall national support.

In the first round of the 2017 vote, Le Pen’s party won 2.99 million votes but won just eight seats in parliament after the second round, while the French Communist party won just 615,000 votes in the first round and picked up 10 seats after the second round of voting.

The second proposal of Ms Le Pen, the Citizen Initiated Referendum, was described by the populist candidate as “a powerful tool for pacifying the political debate.”

Le Pen stated that a “referendum revolution” would allow citizens to call for a popular vote on any subject, except for those that may be a “serious attack on national interests,” saying that a referendum would require 500,000 signatures and could propose reforms or repeal or modify existing French laws.

“Even those who do not appreciate all my proposals have an interest in voting for me, since they will have the opportunity […] to pronounce on them, on a case-by-case basis,” Le Pen said.

“Only the people” according to Le Pen, should have the ability to change the French constitution and said that she would also like to see French law regarded as superior to international law, a move recently supported in Poland by the country’s supreme court, which, in turn, led to conflict with the European Union.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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