France: Most people want referendum on migration

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(V4 Agency)

By: V4 Agency

A survey suggests that a large part of the population wants a referendum on restricting migration, seen as an increasing threat to the country. An association has launched a petition, already signed by more than 30 thousand, to force a plebiscite on the issue. Another survey shows that 51 per cent of the people are not afraid that democracy will be eroded as the largest right-wing party is gaining popularity.

Immigration is an escalating problem in France, and Marine Le Pen, the leader of the largest opposition party, is well aware of this. At the end of March, she said that if she were elected president of the republic, her first action would be to initiate a referendum on migration. According to the politician, it is not acceptable that the French government has been making decisions regarding the subject for decades without seeking the opinion of the people.

Recognising the gravity of the situation, the Damocles Association has launched a petition – endorsed by world-renowned author Laurent Obertone – slated to collect enough signatures to force a referendum. The petition has already been signed by more than 30 thousand people.

Laurent Obertone writes that the situation is urgent. The country will soon reach a breaking point and may even disappear within a few decades, if nothing is done, he writes, adding that a few years ago no one had thought that terrorists would be massacring so many people in France. The great surge in gang wars and crimes committed by young people also seemed highly unlikely back then, he points out.

Young people attack anyone who is not “one of them”, be it police or firefighters, and Obertone says this is just the beginning of the process as the republic is experiencing an unprecedented volume of migration influx. The author also highlights the shocking figures that 18 per cent of France’s population and 40 per cent of newborn babies are non-white. Obertone estimates the native French to become a minority in the country by 2060, claiming action needs to be taken as soon as possible, before it is too late.

The issue has piqued the interest of news portal CNews, which reported – based on a poll by the CSA Institute – that six in ten French citizens support a national referendum on migration. 62 per cent of the respondents think a referendum is needed in order to curb migration. The survey shows that the 18-24 age group is the most in favour with 68 per cent backing the referendum. This proportion is 60 per cent among 25 to 34-year-olds, 63 per cent among the 35-49 cohort, and 58 per cent among those between 50-64.

Differences were more pronounced when considering respondents’ political alignment. While 61 per cent of the leftists disagree with the idea, 93 per cent of the right-wing supporters believe a referendum on restricting migration is necessary.

The article also reveals that public acceptance of migration in France is on the decline. A parliamentary speech of Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin reflects this trend. In it, the politician talked about the implementation of more stringent controls on France’s border with Italy in recent months at the request of President Emmanuel Macron. Consequently, 20 thousand illegal immigrants were prevented from entering the country at the Italian border, which is four times the number from before the controls were stepped up. Furthermore, in the past four months, 15 thousand illegal immigrants were captured on the border with Spain, five times more than previously.

 

The French government has realized it is high time to act and ordered a stop to immigration, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Emmanuel Macron and his government have guaranteed themselves a victory in the 2022 election. According to an Ifop survey, the largest French opposition party, the National Rally, is gaining ground. According to the survey, 51 percent of respondents believe democracy would not be in jeopardy should the right-wing party win the upcoming regional elections –  the first and second rounds are to be held 20 and 27 June, respectively.

Naturally, responses differed more markedly according to party affiliation. The largest proportion of those believing a right-wing win would not pose a threat to democracy were from among National Rally supporters at 87 per cent. They are followed by The Republicans supporters at 57 per cent, followed by those siding with the La France Insoumise party (Unsubmissive France) at 40 per cent. However, even 37 per cent of socialist voters believe Marine Le Pen’s victory would not endanger democracy.

As for the views of the counter-camp, pro-Green and ruling party sympathizers are the most worried about the degradation of democracy in the event of a National Rally win. 75 per cent of both parties’ supporters responded in the affirmative to the question of the right-wing party victory posing a threat.

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