(Paris) Emmanuel Macron’s speech on television at 1 p.m. is eagerly awaited on Wednesday, as his controversial remarks on “ the crowd ” not “ legitimate ” have rekindled tensions against his pension reform adopted by forceps.
The Head of State, withdrawn since January on this flagship file of his second five-year term, will respond at 1 p.m. to journalists from TF1 and France 2, on the eve of a new day of union mobilization.
To leave all the room for the presidential word alone, the Elysée has canceled the traditional report of the Council of Ministers.
New demonstrations, sometimes fraught with tension, continued on Tuesday evening.
At the end of a day of intense consultations, Emmanuel Macron called on the government to “appease” and “listen to anger”, while assuming its choices, according to participants in a meeting with parliamentarians from his camp.
“ The crowd, whatever it is, has no legitimacy in the face of the people who express themselves sovereign through their elected representatives”, he warned.
“ It’s yet another lack of respect, but it’s in his political DNA to despise us”, denounced Willy Dhellemmes, SUD-PTT union representative, at a dam filtering access to a fuel depot in the north from Bordeaux.
“It’s still a bit hard to swallow. He would have to come down a little from his ivory tower, he is very far from reality, from what is happening. He denies the weight of the elect with 49.3 and there he denies the weight of the people. It strengthens our determination”, warns Stéphane Bon-Mardion, EDF engineer and elected CGT on a “free toll” operation in Chambéry.
In the president’s own camp, we had little taste for this outing.
“ I would not have said things like that ”, noted François Bayrou on Wednesday. “ The demonstrations have their legitimacy, but it is not a legitimacy superior to democratic legitimacy ”, he added, however.
“ The crowd must be heard and what I expect from the President of the Republic […] is precisely that he makes an uncompromising diagnosis of the situation ”, added Renaissance MP Gilles Le Gendre. “ We have no right to denial ”.
The boss of the LR deputies, Olivier Marleix, felt that it was “ urgent that he rectify the situation, that he change his vocabulary during his intervention”.
On the left, PS deputy Boris Vallaud described “a frenzied president, one-on-one with himself”.
On the social front, the situation remains tense.
On Wednesday morning, the A55 in the Fos-sur-Mer-Marseille direction was closed due to pallet fires. The port of Marseille-Fos was also totally blocked as part of a “dead ports” day at the call of the CGT while punchy actions are also carried out around the port area of Capécure, in Boulogne -on sea.
The Puget-sur-Agens oil depot (Var) is blocked by demonstrators, as are two roundabouts serving two oil depots north of Bordeaux.
The day before, new demonstrations in Paris or Nantes were peppered with incidents. In total, from police sources, 128 arrests took place in France, including 81 in Paris. 61 police and gendarmes were injured.
Faced with these tensions, the Head of State summed up his state of mind on Tuesday, when relaunching his second five-year term: “ no dissolution, no reshuffle, no referendum ”.
Despite the final adoption on Monday by Parliament of its flagship reform, all the unions and almost all the opposition continue to demand the withdrawal of the text, which raises the legal retirement age from 62 to 64 years old.
The use of Article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass the text without a vote revived the dispute, especially since it was followed by a motion of censure against the government rejected by only nine votes.
Emmanuel Macron “set fire and closed all the exits” by “passing by force”, denounced Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), while the boss of the deputies of the National Rally Marine Le Pen warned in an interview with the AFP that the president alone had “ the keys to a political crisis that he created ”.
In the immediate future, the Head of State asked his troops to make “ within two to three weeks ” “ proposals ” with a view to a “ change of method and reform agenda ”, which could allow him to temporize without making strong announcements this Wednesday, with the possible exception of the postponement of the examination of the immigration bill, deemed too inflammable in the circumstances.