Vying to quell public unrest and a wave of protests, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to ask the French electorate to vote in a May referendum. Since mid-November, nationwide protests have knocked Macron off balance and upended his pro-business agenda. He’s been lambasted as the president for the rich, aloof from the everyday concerns of French people. France has a generous welfare system but still many French are frustrated with high unemployment, a stagnant economy and weak purchasing power. In response to the protests, Macron has scrapped fuel tax hikes, raised the minimum wage and opened a two-month-long nationwide debate where people can voice their concerns and solutions to France’s problems at meetings and through an online portal.
Now, Macron appears to hope a referendum will help heal even further the rift between his government and the French electorate. News of the possible referendum comes as his abysmal poll numbers begin to inch up.
French media say Macron’s government wants the referendum to coincide with elections for the European Union’s parliament on May 26.
Le Journal du Dimanche, a French weekly, reported Sunday that Macron’s government has already ordered ballot papers, among other steps preparing for the referendum.
Full Article: Macron Said to Eye Election-Timed Referendum on Protests.