Raging French Protests Highlight Macron 'Still Losing' Despite Winning No Confidence Vote - Analyst
03:23 GMT 25.03.2023 (Updated: 04:49 GMT 25.03.2023)
© AP Photo / Lewis JolyGarbage is set on fire by protesters after a demonstration near Concorde square, in Paris, Thursday, March 16, 2023. French President Emmanuel Macron has shunned parliament and imposed a highly unpopular change to the nation's pension system, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.
© AP Photo / Lewis Joly
Protests have been held in France over the last several months as the French public has voiced their opposition to the rising cost of living in the European nation. More recently, matters were kicked up a level after legislation increasing the retirement age by two years was forced through the legislature.
Demonstrations held across France will inevitably intensify in the coming week and ultimately prove that even though French President Emmanuel Macron narrowly won a recent no-confidence vote, he's still not in the clear, veteran war correspondent Elijah Magnier told Sputnik.
"Macron is showing his lack of interest in diminishing the gap between the people and himself and he’s showing how he is stubborn," Magnier said on Radio Sputnik's Political Misfits on Friday. "It's getting very bad."
Recent figures released by French unions indicated that upwards of three million people have participated in demonstrations, and numbers are likely to skyrocket in the following days as a new manifestation have been scheduled for the coming week.
However, while the latest public outrage was emboldened by the pension reform, Magnier told show hosts Michelle Witte and John Kiriakou that the movement is fueled by a larger disappointment with living costs.
"The syndicate and the French population is showing their determination but this is not only related to the pension age," the war correspondent pointed out. "They are complaining about the cost of life, the devaluation of the euro and the increase of prices to crazy levels and they accuse the wrong decision to the war in Ukraine."
"They’re saying 'Yes, of course the pension is important but everything is going wrong and Macron doesn’t represent us anymore,'" he added.
21 March, 11:10 GMT
In regards to a potential compromise, Magnier noted that despite Macron's efforts to calm tensions, the French president is "making things even worse." In fact, Magnier pointed out that if elections were held now, Macron would not prove a victor.
"He’s lost in the National Assembly," Magnier told Kiriakou. "Even if [Macron] has won the vote of confidence, he is still losing."
Acknowledging the clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement officials, Magnier stated that the situation is likely to grow even more dire as protest spread across the nation. "People are angry," he said.
Chaos erupted on the streets of Paris and other major cities after the government adopted legislation that raised the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The measure was forced through the French parliament by invoking Article 49.3 of the constitution, which allows measures to pass the assembly without parliamentary clearance. Opposition officials attempted to block the law with a no-confidence vote the following Monday to no avail.
For more sharp analysis, check out the latest episode of Sputnik’s podcast Political Misfits.