Macron will try to resume the course of his quinquennium by sending his wishes to the French at 8:00 pm, at the same time where “yellow vests” will remind him of their strength in meeting at the Champs-Elysees.
In this final speech of a year that has seen its popularity collapse, the president will, according to a close, use words marking “authority and rally”, with the dual challenge of appeasing anger and revive its program of reforms.
His speech, which he plans to record at the end of the afternoon, will be broadcast on all major television channels.
More than 23 million people had watched that of December 10 – a record for political intervention – when, pressed by the claims of “yellow vests”, the head of state promised € 10 billion in aid favor of purchasing power.
This time, no more ads. The challenge is to convince him that he is able to show more listening and benevolence, he whose some brittle phrases this year continue to shock some of the opinion, the “crazy man” to the “refractory Gauls”.
In this “difficult learning of unpopularity”, it is “difficult to turn the corner, but there is no inevitability in politics,” said Monday on France Inter Gaspard Gantzer, former communications advisor to François Hollande and close to Emmanuel Macron.
Monday evening, the Head of State “must demonstrate that it really ends the contempt, arrogance, lies, and that it changes its policy”, for its part urged the spokesman Republicans Laurence Sailliet on RTL.
The wishes of the nation, a republican tradition maintained by Mr. Macron, finally give him the opportunity to talk about the future, the reforms announced for 2019, which remain his priority, especially that of pensions and the civil service, but also new initiatives, starting with this “big national debate” scheduled for January to March with which the executive hopes to appease the anger of the “yellow vests”.
The president could recall the limits of this exercise, as he had already done on December 10: no question of replaying the presidential election or “unravel” what the government and Parliament have put in place for 18 months.
These red lines are not without risk. In the absence of concrete results, the “big debate” could lead to new frustrations and disputes. As for the opportunity to launch “citizens’ initiative referendums”, claimed by some of the “yellow vests” and by the opposition, the president has not yet decided.
Emmanuel Macron will in any case delay the constitutional reform to which he remains very attached, until the end of the great debate.
The beginning of 2019 has other pitfalls, such as the introduction of the activity bonus of a hundred euros for low wages. The effect of the entry into force of the withholding tax is another unknown.
On another level, the Benalla affair, which had poisoned the summer of the Elysée, resurfaced. The former chargé de mission said Sunday night at Mediapart have continued to exchange regularly with the president after his dismissal.
Beyond that, Marielle de Sarnez, vice president of the MoDem, called on Sunday the president to get out of the crisis from above by “refounding the state” and “largely gathering the country’s great democratic sensibilities”.
Part of the “yellow vests” intends to be heard just at the time of the presidential wishes: a call is launched on Facebook for a gathering “festive and non-violent” on the Champs-Elysees at 20:00, in view of the transition to the new year “which will be rich in changes and victories”. In all, some 10,000 people announce they want to answer two different calls.
Security will be strengthened in Paris as in other major cities where calls have been launched, especially on the Aquitaine bridge in Bordeaux.
A protection perimeter will be established from 16:00 Monday around the Champs-Elysees and the Place de l’Etoile, in a context also marked by the risk of attacks.
For New Year’s Eve 2017, nearly 140,000 members of the security and relief forces had been mobilized throughout the country.