Global Affairs

Lessons from French 'yellow vest' protests

Populist backlash threatens to grow stronger as voters tire of yet more promises of dialogue to heal social divide

PARIS • France is embarking tomorrow on a unique experiment: nothing less than a "grand national debate" about the country's future.

This isn't one of those consultations governments worldwide launch periodically in an effort to portray themselves as "listening to voters"; if the French authorities are to be believed, their aim is to unleash a truly gigantic national dialogue, attracting the active engagement of millions of citizens, with the aim of deciding France's fundamental institutions for generations to come.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2019, with the headline 'Lessons from French 'yellow vest' protests'. Print Edition | Subscribe