PARIS (Reuters) – To his allies, Emmanuel Macron’s letter to the French launching a national policy debate was a bold exercise in democracy. To his critics, Sunday’s missive was an empty, wordy gesture by an aloof ‘King Macron’ determined to retain core economic reforms.
Whatever their initial reaction, the French have eight weeks to respond by contributing thoughts on an array of subjects in an initiative the president hopes will generate policy ideas and help build a new “contract” with the nation.
Need - Letter - Consultation - Extent - Vest
That he felt the need to pen a 2,300-word letter launching a consultation reflects the extent to which the “yellow vest” uprising has shaken his presidency.
Before Macron’s letter, only two other French presidents, Francois Mitterrand and Nicolas Sarkozy, had penned missives to the people. Both were electoral gambits, announcing their run for a second term in the Elysee Palace.
Macron - Contrast - Years - Power - Relations
Macron’s in contrast came after less than two years in power and sought to begin healing relations with a public angry at the 41-year-old’s liberal economic reforms and monarchical manner.
His letter insisted he would not reverse reforms aimed at making France Inc. more attractive and ensuring work pays more. The initiative, he said, was “neither an election, nor a referendum” on his leadership. Opponents were unimpressed.
Address - Head - State - Fact - Candidate
“With this address, the head of state is in fact a candidate, to save the three years he has left in office,” the left-leaning daily Liberation wrote in its Monday editorial.
“Resuming a conversation with the people won’t be easy. And, if we dare say, will require of the president a certain ‘taste for effort’,” the paper added, sniping at Macron’s remarks on Friday that too many French did not know the meaning of hard graft.
Debate - Themes - Taxes - Energy - Reform
The debate will focus on four themes — taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship. Discussions will be held on the internet and...
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