France has inaugurated Emmanuel Macron as its new president at Elysee Palace in Paris.
France has seen a large police presence since declaring a state of emergency following a number of terrorist attacks. In addition to the threat of terrorism, there have been large-scale protests over the presidential election, with many people unhappy with both candidates on offer in the second round – centrist Macron and anti-establishment Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front.
RT asked human rights activist Yasser Louati whether Macron could hail in a new era for France.
In his view, “there is nothing new with this president – only a fresh face for a dirty old boutique.”
“The new president was not even elected by the majority of voters and, among those who voted for him, 60 percent voted for him because they had no other alternative. So, Emanuel Macron is president by default not by adherence,” he explained.
Voter turnout for this French presidential election was the lowest in decades, with many abstaining or spoiling their ballots.
Louati explained that this was due to a “growing defiance towards our political elite and further disconnect from those who rule the country and those who are being ruled.”
Macron’s predecessor, France’s unpopular President Francois Hollande, had “kept only 44 per cent of his promises,” said the activist.
“People are fed up and sick and tired of being lied to. [Politicians] come, make promises, get elected by default, and then apply policies that work for the rich and powerful,” Louati said, adding that it’s unlikely that anything will change under President Macron.
“Emanuel Macron is only the latest child of this… despised political system. One of the dangerous measures that he has called for is for him to rule by executive orders throughout the summer in order to bypass unions and any opposition during the summer vacation. That tells us that the upcoming months will be high tense in France and there is no sign of appeasement when it comes to social and economic policies,” he concluded.
Human rights lawyer Hosni Maati says that, in some sense, France is, in fact, standing before a new era, as Macron is the Fifth Republic’s youngest president ever.
He is an ambitious young man eager to take action, he told RT, but added that, now that Macron’s program is known, it’s clear that France is going to see “the continuity of what President Hollande tried to do without success.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.