French politics might be on the verge of a profound shake-up as former gilets jaunes leader, Jacline Mouraud, launched a new political party she described as "the common sense party."
Mouraud, who's credited as one of the first leaders of the gilets jaunes movement, said her party, Les Emergents (The Emergence), would do things differently.
“We want to put forward a party that’s handled with the heart and not money. Often, we have the impression that politicians have a rock instead of a heart."
"We are going to do things with the heart, it’s going to make a big difference,” she said.
The 51-year-old came to the fore last October when she posted a video on Facebook criticising Emmanuel Macron’s government for planning to increase fuel taxes. The video went viral and had more than six million views at time of writing.
Les Emergents’ programme will include withdrawing privileges from elected representatives, reducing VAT on basic products and increasing taxes for high-earning companies and better wealth distribution between employees and shareholders, she said at a press conference last week.
The Brittany-native specified the party would not be sending any candidates for May’s European Parliament elections as she preferred taking her time building the party’s structure. She said, however, that they should be ready to run in France’s 2020 local elections.
In order to set up a political party recognised by the French state, the party's founders must first create a non-profit organisation according to the 1901 law. In order for the organisation to have a legal capacity, it must be declared to the prefecture. This declaration is then published in the Official Journal of Business Associations and Foundations (JOAFE).
Mouraud's party has been accepted by the prefecture and its details should be published in the journal by next week.
Euronews spoke to Mouraud about her political aspirations, the name “Les Emergents” and why she thinks violence is not the solution to France’s social crisis.
Why the name "Les Emergents"?
Jacline Mouraud: Every time that people spoke within the gilets jaunes movement, I’d say to myself ‘oh there’s another one that’s emerging,’ so naturally the party name became Les Emergents. Because when one emerges from something it means rebirth and this is the birth of a new political system in France.
Do you have any prior experience in politics?
JM: I was never politically engaged before, however, I’ve been interested in French politics since the age of ten.
Would you do things differently if you could?
JM: No, I don’t think so. I think that everything should be left as it is. However, I am not responsible for the protests every Saturday that end up in mayhem and hurt the French economy. I don’t regret anything because I always detached myself from these acts.
To protest is one thing but to break everything is another.
Even if you denounce violence, do you think that it's brought attention to the demands of the gilets jaunes?
JM: If violence were the solution, then I don’t think protests would still be happening every weekend. The government doesn’t even respond to violence anymore, it never answered to violence. It responded to the mass mobilisation and the fact that thousands of people were in the streets protesting. But since people started using violence, it hasn’t been answering anymore. So we see that violence is not the solution.
Do you think your party can act as a common platform for the gilets jaunes?
JM: The party is not exclusive to gilets jaunes. People who don’t align with the violence have joined us.
Les Emergents welcomes people from all sides of the political spectrum and all of those disappointed by politicians who care more about their personal life than the good of the country.
Have you modelled your party after any European political movement or group?
JM: We’re not modelling our party on any European movements or groups because we want to build something completely different.
So how are you going to finance your party?
JM: We will finance the party like everyone else, through memberships and donations.
Do you have any reproaches towards the media?
JM: I reproach certain journalists of being partisan and sometimes feel like some Parisian journalists snob the plight of French people from rural areas and that's not acceptable. I hope that Les Emergents' relationship with the media will be based on mutual respect.