On Thursday, Emmanuel Macron announced that he will not seek reelection in France’s upcoming presidential race.
Despite being the first French president to win reelection, Macron emphasized his willingness to prioritize the needs and concerns of French citizens over his personal popularity and career, particularly in response to the ongoing protests against his pension reform plan.
During televised interviews with TF1 and France-2 TV channels, Macron noted that he is unable to run for another term due to constitutional restrictions that prohibit a head of state from serving more than two consecutive terms. This law was passed in 2008.
Macron wants to settle ‘understandable anger’
Macron reiterated that he has a responsibility to “settle the understandable anger.” “Rallies, the participants of which show protest – this is legal. But its legality should not exceed the legality of democratic decisions, which come to life through the decisions of the people’s deputies,” the French president, perceived as the “leader of the rich,” emphasized.
Furthermore, he added, “between the opinion polls and the interests of the country I will choose the latter. If I have to face unpopularity, I am ready for it,” said the French President.
Protests have erupted in France as citizens take to the streets to oppose Macron’s proposed pension reform, which seeks to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.
The bill was introduced in January and was passed in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, without a vote.
Since Macron’s Renaissance party does not hold a majority in the Assembly, the bill was approved through the use of Paris’ Gaullist loophole, known as 49.3, which allows lawmakers to bypass parliamentary voting procedures and push through legislation.
On March 16, the invocation of article 49.3 marked the 100th time that this measure had been utilized under France’s Fifth Republic, as Macron sought to impose an unpopular policy on the French people.
Around 75% of the French population, representing a majority, is against the proposed pension reform bill, which has also been met with opposition from French labor unions that have organized rallies since mid-January. The unions are demanding that the bill be overturned.
Despite the fact that the pension reform was expected to become a key aspect of Emmanuel Macron’s legacy, it has been met with criticism both in the streets and in the National Assembly.