French President Offers Plan to Improve Governmental and Political Efficiency
French President Emmanuel Macron plans to significantly change the political and governmental structure of his nation and seems to have the support of the public when it comes to reaching his objectives. One of his most dramatic proposals is for a reduction in the size of the French Parliament, which he recently addressed in person.
In a speech that resembled an American presidential address, Macron outlined proposals that are designed to streamline government and generally improve the climate in his country and elsewhere in Europe. In France, presidential speeches before the French National Assembly and Senate are normally reserved for crisis situations. A thorough review of Macron's speech is available at www.france24.com.
One of his proposals involved a one-third reduction in the membership of the two houses of parliament, which currently stands at 925. Macron said he believed such a reduction would have "positive effects" on the government body. He also promised to improve the issue of proportional representation by altering the winner-take-all philosophy that is today the basis of French elections. Such changes are designed to satisfy the demands of smaller French political parties.
These latest proposals come only a week after the introduction of a bill that would make it possible to circumvent the normal parliamentary process in order to change French labor laws and practices. In his speech before the Parliament, Macron expressed the belief that European nations have been saddled by bureaucracy and noted that France itself has struggled through a "stagnant" economy. He offered to create a "renaissance" in policies that would revive his and other economies on the continent. Asking for the assistance of the parliament, Macron said he would consider turning to a national referendum to enact his proposals. The referendum approach might prove beneficial to Macron when considering that his popular approval rating stands at 54 percent.
Macron's speech was met with opposition from the representatives of some French parties, who claimed that the policies could weaken the role of the parliament. Jean-Luc Melenchon, who represents the far left in France, did not attend the speech and claimed that Macron had exceeded the bounds of his authority.
A member of parliament who agreed with Macron noted that a government may have to become slightly less democratic in order to attain its required efficiency. Even with a reduction in its size, the French parliament would still offer greater representation that the U.S. Congress, which has only 535 members but represents a population that is approximately five times larger.
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