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News ID: 38438
Publish Date: 15:32 - 25 April 2019
TEHRAN, Apr 25 - French President Emmanuel Macron will unveil Thursday his long-awaited response to nearly six months of street protests as he lays out reform plans that could prove decisive for his political future.

France's Macron to unveil long-awaited reform planTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Macron, 41, swept to power in 2017 on hopes he would be a youthful breath of fresh air for France.

But over the past six months, the momentum has been knocked out of his presidency following the emergence of the anti-government "yellow vest" movement which has held weekly protests against social inequality.

Thursday's address, scheduled for 1600 GMT, will see Macron holding his first-ever full domestic news conference to outline a series of reforms drawn up after a vast listening exercise launched in response to the protests.

He is expected to announce a series of important but not revolutionary measures, including tax cuts for the middle classes and the re-evaluation of small pensions -- both of which were among the demands of the yellow vest protesters.

But most of the reforms are already known after leaks to the press, including the likely closure of the ENA administration school which has become a direct feeder for the French elite.

But how the president -- criticized by opponents for apparent aloofness in the face of rising social problems -- handles the event will be of critical importance.

"The moment of truth," said the Le Parisien newspaper. "Macron's crucial appointment with the country," added Le Figaro.

Macron will likely give a brief 20-minute address which will outline "several approaches and a direction" in response to the crisis, then he will take questions from French and foreign journalists, aides said.

The entire exchange, the culmination of his "Great National Debate" where Macron heard the gripes of ordinary French, will be broadcast live on French television.

Macron, who will be surrounded by members of his cabinet, knows he has to "act very quickly to set out a calendar" for the reforms to be announced, said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye.

Rather than changing the reforms which were leaked earlier this week, the idea is that Macron will "explain them".

But he is likely to have an uphill struggle, with an Ipsos-Sopra Steria opinion poll for Le Monde showing that more than three quarters of French did not believe the process would improve the political situation.

For Macron, known to favor surprise and the dramatic gesture, the stakes are huge.

Opinion polls show his popularity rating stuck on or even under 30 percent, a far cry from the heady days after his inauguration when his approval rating was over 60 percent.

Macron already has his eye on the 2022 presidential election, acutely aware that his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande only lasted one term and failed to implement lasting change.

Source: AFP

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France ، Macon ، plan
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