Macron BACKLASH: President could spark ‘chronic instability’ in France

In a savage attack the right-wing politician said former and current French governments were obsessed with “changing the rules of the political game” to serve their own interests.

Mr Debré said: “This compulsive need to change the rules of the political game is one of French society’s greatest ills…

“[This needing to change the rules] reminds me of football players who can’t score any goals: they either start training harder or they make the goals bigger.

“And in France, the government doesn’t train harder, it increases the size of the goals.”

Mr Debré also slammed Mr Macron’s constitutional reform plans, saying that allowing a “dose” of proportional representation in parliament could lead to “chronic instability” as it has done in neighbouring Italy and Germany.

He also said he was “shocked” by the young centrist’s plan to forbid government officials, namely MPs, from holding the same position for three consecutive terms.

The former president of the National Assembly and Constitutional Council told the conservative weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD): “In a democracy it is up to the voter to choose who to vote for,” he said, before acknowledging that Mr Macron was however right to slash the number of lawmakers by a third – from 577 to 385.

“There are far too many lawmakers in parliament – in the first French constitution there were only 482.”

Mr Debré also criticised Mr Macron’s plan to seek direct approval from voters in a referendum if parliament fails to sign off his constitutional reforms quickly enough, saying that bypassing parliament was a “demagogic” strategy.

He said: “Under Article 11 of the constitution, a president can unilaterally call a referendum to make institutional changes.

“Charles de Gaulle invoked article 11 – but not everyone is de Gaulle. And using a referendum to change the constitution is purely demagogic.”

The former lawmaker also commented on Mr Macron’s pledge to add a specific mention of Corsica in the French constitution, a key demand made by the island’s nationalist leaders.

Mr Debré said: “The French constitution should not be used as a people-pleasing tool. I agree with the need to reform France and with the need to change some of the rules of the game. That said, the government should never give in to populist or demagogic pressure.”