Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Abdelrahim Ali
Abdelrahim Ali

Macron to face hell tomorrow

Monday 04/February/2019 - 04:55 PM
Paris - 

Philippe Martinez, Secretary General of the left-wing CGT, said Monday that 9 French labor unions agreed to join a public strike on Tuesday (February 5, 2019). The strike is expected to include all state facilities in France, i.e. transportation, hospitals, post offices, airports and train stations, according to Martinez.

French observers say the strike will be the worst since 201. Hardliner Martinez aims at persuading the ‘yellow vests’ protesters to join forces with him in tomorrow’s demonstration to force the French government to take the following actions:

1. To raise salaries and pensions for all classes and for all workers and employees in France.

2 – To scrap all tax exemptions for mega industrial companies.

3 – To take part in in the ongoing societal dialogue, but down there in the streets as Martinez put it.

Those who have been following the crisis, which was triggered by protests on November 17, 2018 against the fuel taxes under President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reform plan as laid out in his included his campaigning for presidential election, see confusion, inexperience and lack of a clear-cut political vision on the President’s teamwork as well as the absence of his party -- La République En Marche! (LREM) -- on the political scene, leaving him facing the street alone with no backing at all.

Now the snowball has rolled and got complicated in December and January, deepening the crisis and has turned it from clear economic fix to a deep, serious political and social crisis. Such a situation has reduced Macron’s options, giving his political rivals at home and abroad the chance to exacerbate the crisis.

Macron’s options

Now President Macron has only 4 main options:

The first option is to resort to a public referendum on his policies following in the footsteps of Gen. Charles de Gaulle in dealing with student demonstration in 1968. In such a case, there would be 80% possibility of loss. This is the same percentage that approve the ‘yellow vests’ protests.

The second option will be the dissolution of the National Assembly and calling for legislative elections, which will lead to a victory of one of the opposition parties or an alliance of two main parties: the Front National Party, which is led by Marine Le Pen, and La France Insoumise party, headed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. There could be a “coexistence cabinet”, like what happened in 1986 (François Mitterrand and Jacque Chirac) and in 1993 and 1997(Chirac and Édouard Balladur and Lionel Jospin).

This coexistence takes the president’s powers completely, regarding the domestic policies, and gives them to the prime minister, who has a different vision from the President's program. As for foreign policy and defense issues, the president will need to consult with the prime minister. Although this would ruin Macron's political future, it will be a kiss of life Macron for the coming three years in office.

The third option is to sack the present government led by Édouard Philippe and the formation of a national unity cabinet to be led by a strong left-center or center-left political figure.

Moreover, centrist François Bayrou or Jean-Yves Le Drian (center-left) may form a new cabinet with the help of ministers from various political trends.

If that happens smoothly, Macron will maintain his grassroots support, keeping his political influence ahead of the next presidential elections.