Mr Macron’s dissatisfaction rating remains high as 72 percent
On Saturday the ‘yellow vest’ movement – protesters wearing hi-vis jackets – held its 10th consecutive weekend of demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron. And speaking the day before, Mr Santini, the mayor of the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, told Europe 1 radio, that the citizen-driven rebellion could have been contained had Mr Macron “shown less arrogance”. Mr Santini also said the 41-year-old leader “stands out for his contempt for the French”.
He added: “You know, if there is one thing people will not forgive you for in politics, it’s humiliation.
Referring to Mr Macron’s all-stripes cabinet, which is made up of a relatively inexperienced pool of loyalists, he continued: “He is surrounded by people who have no political experience.”
The yellow vest protests, so-called because of the fluorescent safety jackets all French motorists must carry in their cars, started in November as a backlash against rising living costs and planned carbon tax hikes
However the movement quickly tapped into much deeper frustrations among working class citizens, who say that Mr Macron’s liberal economic policies favour the urban elite over the rural poor.
Protests could have been prevented if President had “shown less arrogance”, said André Santini
Mr Macron was caught unawares by the most serious, sometimes violent, crisis of his presidency, which dragged down his popularity and dented his reformist credentials.
But his efforts to de-escalate tensions – which include a string of conciliatory measures which will cost the state more than 10 billion euros – seem to be paying off.
Mr Macron’s approval rating has improved slightly since last month, an Ifop poll published on Sunday showed.
The poll for the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) showed the young leader’s satisfaction rating at 27 percent, up four points since Ifop’s previous poll in December.
The movement quickly tapped into much deeper frustrations among working class citizens
Five percent said they were “very satisfied” with his performance, compared to 22 percent who said they were “quite satisfied”.
Despite the slight uptick, Mr Macron’s dissatisfaction rating remains high as 72 percent of French people said they were “unhappy” with the president, according to the poll.
Some 40 percent said they were “very unhappy,” while 32 percent said they were “quite unhappy”.
Ifop’s deputy chief Frédéric Dabi said: “The ‘unsatisfied’ are still very much in the majority.”
Some 40 percent of French people said they were “very unhappy”
But the Macron government hopes that a three-month national policy debate launched last week will help permanently reverse the president’s downward trend in polls and put an end to the protests.
While the interior ministry said that some 84,000 yellow vests had taken part in the tenth consecutive weekend of demonstrations on Saturday, the anti-Macron movement put the figure at 147,365.
Mr Macron, for his part, has urged protesters to take part in his “grand débat national,” which he says will help generate policy ideas and build a new “contract” with the nation.
The policy debate will focus on four themes — taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship. Discussions will be held on the internet and in town halls over a period of two months. Four weeks after that, in April, the government will return with its conclusions.
The movement held its 10th consecutive weekend of demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron
A RIC, or Citizens’ Initiative Referendum, a proposal backed by 73 percent of the French
On ‘yellow vests’ list of core demands is a RIC, or Citizens’ Initiative Referendum, a proposal backed by 73 percent of the French, an Opinionway poll for LCI television published on Sunday showed.
A RIC would be triggered if 700,000 people signed an online petition for a policy proposal.
In addition to introducing or removing legislation, the popular votes could be held on international accords or to oust lawmakers or other elected officials, including Mr Macron.
While the Macron government has acknowledged that popular referendums are a “good tool in a democracy,” it has also warned against the social consequences of such votes, saying that they could not be held on “any subject” and should be confined to really big questions.
The Ifop poll of 1,928 people was carried out between January 11-19; while the Opinionway poll of 1,042 people was carried out between January 17-18.