France: Yellow Vests march against pension reforms in Paris
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Fabrice Grimal, a leading organiser of the Gilet Jaunes and Le Gouv, has been chosen as the presidential candidate for a group of citizen associations known as La Concorde Citoyenne. He hopes his candidacy will help to revolutionise French politics by placing ordinary citizens at the heart of the the political system with real power to influence legislation and to make traditional parties obsolete. “I am for now the only citizen candidate as opposed to a professional politician,” he told Express.co.uk
“I am the first candidate coming from the citizens with a complete programme and I am a Yellow Vest and I am representing a large part of the Yellow Vests.”
He added: “I am a simple citizen running for presidency without a traditional political party.
“What’s new….is that we don’t trust in political parties anymore and we want to build our programme and build our future together without this form of political party.
“So we build citizen associations that deal with politics without being a party – it’s that difference we want to make.”
Mr Grimal faces an uphill battle to have his registration confirmed, as he requires at least 500 signatures from elected officials to be able to legally participate in the elections.
However, he has a strategy in place that he hopes will allow him to seal the deal in time for next April.
“We want to gather potentially every citizen movement and every small political party that has no chance at all in the election, that doesn’t have the critical weight to do something in French politics but that can gather for themselves 100, 160, 200 signatures,” he explained.
“It is not enough and they are not going to run for next presidential elections and they are maybe four five parties like this in the Frexit sphere, in the French sovereignty universe of small parties.”
“I think it is really possible,” he added. “If I didn’t think it was possible I would be having fun with my young daughter.”
Frexit and citizens assemblies will be at the heart of La Concorde Cityoenne’s agenda, as they attempt to mobilise support for their movement.
On their website, the group promises to hold a referendum on EU membership, so as to free France from “the tutelage of Brussels on the laws and the French economy.”
They claim that, once liberated from EU shackles, “France will be able to resume her quest for autonomy and sovereignty for an international policy of balance of power and concord of nations.”
Mr Grimal is hoping to build on the work of French eurosceptic Francois Asselineau, who ran as a candidate in the country’s last presidential elections in 2017 on the single issue of Frexit.
Although he polled just one percent, La Citoyenne Concorde candidate believes he can do much better by emphasising the benefits of leaving the EU.
Mr Grimal said: “He (Asselineau) is brilliant and knows everything about the European Union, how it works what is behind the curtain and all the stuff – but he only talks about this.
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“He is incapable of telling people that we want to leave the European Union for some positive reasons – he is only talking about negative reasons.”
The Yellow Vest activist argues that leaving the EU will enable France to regain full control of its economy, as well as immigration.
He added: “We need a big electro-shock to get back on track and get the place we deserve in the nations of the world.”
The creation of a true democratic France takes equal billing as Frexit in the movement’s political programme.
La Concorde Citoyenne plan to do this through a combination of citizens assemblies/committees and popular referenda known as the RIC (Référendum d’Initiative Citoyenne).
Citizens committees will be able to scrutinise every stage of the legislative process and influence the drafting of laws.
If officials and the citizens committees disagree over any particular proposed law, the citizens will be able to put the proposals to a referendum, should they gather one million signatures.
“This procedure is very good for controlling and so we want to make a lot of citizen’s committees at the very heart of (political) institutions,” Mr Grimal said.
“At every moment of this (legislative) procedure you will have citizens right in the middle next door, that will be able to follow the whole process to make citizen’s lobbying.
“If people don’t want it (law), you can have a RIC that will say ‘ok we want the opposite of what you are doing.’
“There is every time control. We want to control them because there is too much deception.”
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