France is on the warpath due to the popular repudiation against the delay of the retirement age, and beyond the debate on the relevance or otherwise of this measure, it is worth noting the personal responsibility in the conflict of Macron, who, despite having his popularity below 30% insists, arrogantly, on approving his pension reform by decree and without making concessions. The French president has not learned his lesson and runs the country as if it were a “presidential monarchy”. In the last electoral campaign he had promised to pay more attention to citizen sentiment. He has not been able or has not wanted to do it and now the country is on fire. His distant and aristocratic profile takes them far away from the image of the tribune “close to the needs of the people.” For this reason, very shortly after his first term began, he began to be unpopular. True, no one can deny his innovative impulse, but he has not been able to distance himself from a technocratic conception of power.
he V French Republic suffers from a growing crisis of representativeness. The semi-presidential system created in the late 1950s by General de Gaulle was extremely successful when France needed a strong presidency to get out of the serious political and moral crisis it found itself in because of the Algerian war of independence, and it worked reasonably well. during the next three decades under the Pompidou, Giscard, Mitterrand, and Chirac presidencies. It was even effective during periods of “cohabitation,” when the president’s party lost its parliamentary majority in midterm elections. But since the beginning of this century, the problems of functionality and representativeness of a regime where the president exercises too much power to the detriment of Parliament’s ability to control have become increasingly apparent.
The last presidents have made an abusive use of their constitutional faculties. This was an essential factor in the failed presidencies of Sarkozy and Hollande. On his side, Macron arrived at the Élysée Palace with the idea of exercising a “Jupiterian presidency” and has devoted himself to a solitary practice of power, ignoring Parliament as never before and issuing decrees in an unprecedented number. Critics of this “hyper-presidentialism” propose revitalizing Parliament with a new system where the prime minister has the main political role and replacing the two-round majority electoral system with one of pure proportionalism for the election of the National Assembly. To a large extent, this “VI Republic” would restore the characteristic parliamentarianism of France during the third and fourth republican stages, which, at the time, was so criticized by De Gaulle, but it would seem to be more suitable from the perspective of the current needs of political representation.
The V Republic no longer has a truly parliamentary essence, and therefore has lost its semi-presidential nature. Its current character leads to the omnipotence of the Executive and a confusion of roles and responsibilities. The prime minister has become a mere “chief of staff” to the president. On the other hand, the current regime lacks intermediary organizations capable of listening to and better attending to popular demands and complaints and helping to stabilize the regime. In his absence, a relationship that is too direct, personalized and even violent (as seen) is built between the president and the governed.
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