Macron toying with idea of referendum
French President Emmanuel Macron is reportedly considering holding a referendum in a bid to stop the ongoing yellow vest protests. The French paper Journal du Dimanche wrote that he is pondering allowing the French people to vote on the results of the civic dialogue on 26 May, the day the European elections will be held. Journalists are unanimous that this is not a good idea in the current volatile situation.
Direct democracy doesn't resolve crises
Others before Macron mistakenly believed a referendum would be a good idea, points out La Repubblica's Paris correspondent Anais Ginori:
“Recent history has shown that referendums aren't a lucky choice. David Cameron was brought down by the Brexit and the British are having to face the consequences of his initiative - who knows for how long. In Italy the referendum on constitutional reform marked the beginning of the end for Matteo Renzi. Alexis Tsipras was humbled and beaten by the referendum on the bailout proposed by Europe. It was rejected by a majority of Greeks and then accepted for reasons of force majeure. Now it's Emmanuel Macron's turn. Past experience shows that leadership or institutional crises are difficult to resolve with the use of direct democracy.”
Playing with fire
Macron would be running a huge risk by holding a referendum in France's current situation, Le Figaro also fears:
“Using the weapon of a referendum could prove dangerous and open the door for the worst demagogic answers. ... France is weighed down by debts and chronic unemployment and is having huge difficulties making its businesses competitive. Can it now afford to play with fire and envisage unrealistic solutions? Certainly, there is a pressing need to reconcile the people with their leaders. But that plan would miss its mark if it were accompanied by a pot-pourri of half-baked ideas. The remedy of a referendum would then be worse than the illness that is ailing our country.”