World: Macron hopes debate can quell French unrest. So did Louis XVI - PressFrom - US

WorldMacron hopes debate can quell French unrest. So did Louis XVI

19:55  11 january  2019
19:55  11 january  2019 Source:

France's Macron launches 'grand debate' following protests

France's Macron launches 'grand debate' following protests French President Emmanuel Macron is formally launching a "grand debate" to try to appease the yellow vest movement following weeks of anti-government protests. Macron heads Tuesday to Grand Bourgtheroulde, a small town in Normandy, where he is to meet about 600 mayors and local officials. Some groups of yellow vest protesters have called for demonstrations in the town during the visit. Authorities have issued a ban on traffic in the area and access is restricted to residents and local workers only. There will also be a high security presence.

Louis XVI ( French pronunciation: [lwi sɛːz]; 23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793), born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution.

While in theory King Louis XVI was an absolute monarch, in practice he was often indecisive and known to back down when faced with strong opposition. While he did reduce government expenditures, opponents in the parlements successfully thwarted his attempts at enacting much needed reforms.

Macron hopes debate can quell French unrest. So did Louis XVI© Reuters/POOL French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he poses for a photograph after the recording of his New Year's speech at at the Elysee Palace

PARIS/FLAGY, France (Reuters) - In 1789, Louis XVI summoned France's aristocracy, clergy and citizens to discuss ways to plug the crown's dismal finances and quell popular discontent over a sclerotic feudal society.

It marked the start of the French Revolution. Within months he was powerless and four years later beheaded by guillotine.

Two centuries on, President Emmanuel Macron, often criticized for a monarchical manner, is also calling a national debate to mollify "yellow vest" protesters whose nine week uprising has set Paris ablaze and shaken his administration.

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and Emmanuel Macron 's resignation as President of France. The movement spans the political spectrum. According to one poll, few of those protesting had According to Stéphane Sirot, a specialist in the history of French trade unionism, the unions were hesitant to join forces with the yellow jackets

He will launch the three-month "grand debat" initiative on Jan. 15. As during the rule of the ill-fated king, the French are already writing complaints in "grievance books" opened up by mayors of 5,000 communes.

The debate will focus on four themes -- taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship. Discussions will be held on the internet and in town halls. But officials have already said changing the course of Macron's reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy will be off limits.

"The debates are not an opportunity for people to offload all their frustrations, nor are we questioning what we've done in the past 18 months," government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told BFM TV. "We're not replaying the election."

By limiting the terms, Macron risks making the same mistake that doomed the monarchy, historian Stephane Sirot of University of Cergy-Pontoise told Le Parisien newspaper.

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President Macron faces his biggest challenge as strikes and protests recall the epic struggle that Subsequent protests at Nanterre sparked the May 1968 civil unrest that drew 10 million students and Les évènements were unexpected but did not come out of the blue. Charles de Gaulle, 77, had

Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron ( French pronunciation: [ɛmanɥɛl makʁɔ̃]; born 21 December 1977) is a French politician serving as President of France since 2017.

"Emmanuel Macron is like Louis XVI who ... receives the grievance books but doesn't understand anything from them."


In Flagy, 100 kilometers south of Paris, the village mayor has been receiving written grievances from local "yellow vests" like Agosthino Bareto. The 65-year-old garage owner is convinced the government will frame the debate to suit itself.

"All that we've been saying is like dust thrown into the wind," Bareto said. "We're not being listened to."

Flagy's mayor, Jacques Drouhin, is sympathetic toward such frustrations. He says he will refuse to hold a town hall debate as long as Macron plans to press on with reforms regardless.

"That's not what our citizens are asking for," Drouhin said. "That's enough. It's now down to our leaders to listen to what's been said in the grievance books."

Weak participation would undermine the exercise. An Elabe opinion poll on Wednesday showed only 40 percent of citizens intend to take part in the debate.

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The French president, Emmanuel Macron , has insisted he will “never accept violence” after central Paris saw its worst unrest in a decade on Saturday when thousands of masked protesters fought running battles with police, torched cars, set fires to banks and houses, and burned makeshift

The execution of Louis XVI , by means of the guillotine, a major event of the French Revolution, took place on 21 January 1793 at the Place de la Révolution ("Revolution Square", formerly Place Louis XV, and renamed Place de la Concorde in 1795) in Paris.

France is bracing for more street protests and possible riots when winter sales kick off this Saturday. Yet even as the demonstrations rumble on, it remains unclear whether the "yellow vests" will emerge as a political force or fizzle away, undone by their own internal differences.

The leader of Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Luigi di Maio, this week publicly backed the French protesters, offering his party's internet platform for direct democracy -- known as "Rousseau" after a leading thinker of the French Enlightenment -- to help the "yellow vests" define a program.

While leaderless, the "yellow vests" mirror movements like Spain's Indignados and Italy's 5-Star, which have sought to upend Europe's traditional political system.

"I am more worried now about the 'yellow vest' protests in France (than Italy)," Karen Ward, chief market strategist for EMEA at JP Morgan Asset Management, told an media briefing.


The "yellow vests" take their name from the high-visibility jackets they wear at road barricades and on the street. Their rage stems from a squeeze on household incomes and a belief that Macron, a former investment banker regarded as close to big business, is indifferent to their hardships.

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The immediate trigger for the Revolution was Louis XVI ’s attempts to solve the government’s worsening financial situation. The assembly did not approve the tax, instead demanding that Louis XVI call the Estates-General. The debate pitted the safety of the State against the liberty of individuals to leave.

Louis XVIII ( Louis Stanislas Xavier; 17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824), known as "the Desired" (le Désiré), was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1814 to 1824, except for a period in 1815 known as the Hundred Days.

Macron will take heart from a sharp fall in public support for the protesters over the past month. He promises to use the debates to channel their anger and shape new policy via a more participatory democracy.

The "yellow vests" are demanding the right to call referendums through mass petitions. Senior cabinet ministers have not rejected the idea -- Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called citizen-initiated referendums a "useful tool in a democracy" -- but said their use should be limited.

More likely is an idea touted within the ruling party and government for the national debate to be followed by a referendum with several questions, rather than a thumbs up or thumbs down vote.

"The government is aware of the risks of making any vote a vote about Macron and not the issues," said Antonio Barroso, deputy director of research at risk advisory firm Teneo. "So you solve that by asking multiple questions."

(Reporting by Richard Lough in Paris and Emilie Delwarde in Flagy; Additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris and Julien Ponthus in London; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Luke Baker and Peter Graff)

French 'Yellow Vests' gather in Paris for tenth weekend of protests.
French 'Yellow Vests' gather in Paris for tenth weekend of protests

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