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Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron; Jean-Luc Mélanchon. Photo supplied

Referendum that could remove Macron supported by huge majority

In France, the citizens' initiative referendum (RIC), which has become the cornerstone of the Yellow Vest dispute, has the support of 80 percent of French voters, according to a survey.

Published: January 3, 2019, 8:33 am

    Paris

    Voters from two parties – the National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen and former Communist Party sympathizers of La France Insoumise (LFI) – are the most inclined to favor such a referendum.

    More than seven weeks after the start of the Yellow Vest movement, it appears that a huge majority of French people support one of the flagship proposals of this unprecedented protest.

    According to the Harris Interactive Barometer for RTL and M6 unveiled on January 2, 80 percent of respondents say they support the the citizens’ initiative referendum (RIC) to propose a law.

    This democratic tool, popularized notably by Etienne Chouard during the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty of 2005, would allow any proposal of a French citizen – be it legislative, abrogatory, revocatory or constitutive – to be the object of a national referendum if it includes a sufficient number – still to be defined – signatures of French compatriots.

    Moreover, even its use to repeal a law meets the approval of 72 percent of French respondents, according to the same survey, while 63 percent would be in favor of ending the mandate of an elected official and 62 percent to amend the Constitution.

    The supporters of the National Rally and LFI of Jena-Luc Mélanchon are more inclined to support the RIC with more than 77 percent for each of its applications.

    The most reserved voters on the issue are the sympathizers of LREM, President Macron’s party.

    Half of French respondents question the effectiveness of the “great national debate”. The same poll also revealed the French mood about the progress of the “big national debate” launched by the government.

    Only LREM supporters are optimistic about the outcome of the government proposals.

    A previous survey already revealed that the RIC, while criticized by many commentators and politicians, has met with wide approval from ordinary French voters.

    In order to put in place this measure, which is dear to Yellow Vests, an amendment to Article 3 of the Constitution is necessary.

    Since the reform of the Constitution in 2008, it is necessary to gather “a fifth of the members of Parliament, supported by a tenth of the voters registered on the electoral rolls” – at least 185 deputies and senators and more than 4.5 million voters – to trigger a so-called “shared initiative” referendum.

    The survey was conducted online from December 27 to 28, 2018, from a representative sample of 1 967 persons, using the quota method.

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