Whether it was on the side of the yellow jackets or the government, the date of March 16 was highly anticipated: the day after the end of the great official debate, it marks the beginning of the process of returning complaints. For the protesters, it was to mark the coup, with a mobilization in strong renewal. The opposite of Macron's strategy, which was to defuse the social and political crisis and de-legitimize the demonstrations, remaining deaf to the fundamental demands: a real change of policy. Furthermore, this March 16 saw a convergence between the yellow vests and the demonstrators in the March of the century for the climate (which brought together over 350,000 people in France), united to denounce a mortified social and environmental policy. As for the fury on the Champs-Élysées, repeated in traditional media, they illustrate the failure of the government's security strategy, while police violence and the choice of force contributed to anger.
It is difficult, in this context, to know what following can give the government and Emmanuel Macron to this great debate. And first, is it a real democratic exercise or an important communication operation of the government? To tell the truth, nobody can say it, including the college of "guarantors" of neutrality: "The way in which governmental and presidential communication continued during the debates could help, after mobilizing, to hinder mobilization by introducing a doubt among the citizens on the neutrality of debates ", criticizes political scientist Pascal Perrineau, one of the five guarantors. Other limitations observed by these guarantors, "a tight program", "an extremely limited organization", "complicated, ambiguous, sometimes oriented questions". This is the point where they rub it, indeed: since its launch in mid-January, it is the whole process that is partial. Surprisingly, when we hear the macronist leaders rejecting from a halt any change of course. However, it is undeniable that the great debate, in the official framework or not, is the occasion of a massive citizen speech. "The exercise took", welcomed Édouard Philippe, on March 5th. With almost 10,000 meetings, 1.5 million contributions, 16,000 notebooks filled in the town halls, it is undeniable that the French (or at least some of them) seized the exercise to speak. But what will be the return?
The question arises all the more because Macron pursues "his" great debate on his own: after 60 intellectuals (chosen by hand, obviously) received at Eliseo on March 18, he must consult the "intermediate bodies" – trade unions, NGOs, associations – not to mention the 18 regional conferences with citizens drawn lots, on the weekends of 16-17 and 23-24 March. After a debate in the Assembly on April 3, then in the Senate, the first measures will be announced by the Head of State from mid-April. Already, he believes that the measures announced on December 10 have responded to the economic and social crisis. And, of all the "structural reforms" planned by the government, no one has been postponed: leading healthcare system, pensions and unemployment. Confirmation of the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, who speaks of a further retirement of the retirement age because "she saw these proposals return from the great debate". Or by Stanislas Guerini, General Delegate of LaREM, who talks about another vacation that has been removed to finance the addiction.
But what emerges from all these claims and complaints also depends on how they will be returned. Two companies are responsible for this return: OpinionWay for the digital part and Roland Berger for the rest. For now, no trace has been officially validated. The referendum on the institutions is still on the table, proof that Macron has not abandoned its institutional reform – reducing the number of parliamentarians, taking into account the white vote, introducing a small dose of proportionality.
If the tax and social justice, as well as the democratic requirement symbolized by the citizens' initiative referendum (RIC) are the topics most often mentioned in the contributions, the Prime Minister has already sent an exception of inadmissibility: "RIC makes me raise "The same thing from the side of tax justice:" The French want less taxes, which I heard correctly, "exclaimed Édouard Philippe, before passing as a measure of fiscal justice … the removal of the ISF.
On the side of ecology, the contributions allow us to reveal the sensitivity of the French people to the topic: it is the second theme that has reached the top of the contributions, and the word that emerges most often is "urgency".
The convergence, on March 16th, between the mobilization for the climate and the yellow jackets is the sign that, in the consciences, the link between social crisis and ecological crisis is, every day, more consolidated. At the moment, the only measure resulting from the great debate held by the executive is a recast of the Notre law, voted in 2015, which upset the territorial balance of the country forcing the municipalities to group together 39; internal of giant intercommunalities. "The intercommunality must not impose its points of view on the communes and expropriate them of their competences": the associations of the local elected (AMF, ADF, ARF) have strongly questioned the president on this topic, and should be listened to, remains to know how For the rest, the goal seems to be mainly to appease the opinion to save the "reforms".
But it could also be that the "great debate" is a Pandora's box opened by Macron himself: both official and not, this debate is an opportunity for people to seize their future again, to resume their speech and initiative. For the executive, the challenge is to continue the exercise by giving the feeling of a true democratic consideration, as summarized by Gabriel Attal: "We must propose another structure for debate and permanent participation for the future operations: one thing is certain: spring will be social and ecological, it is only beginning.