French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday against the backdrop of the pension reform unfolding in the country that he was ready to sacrifice his popularity for France’s interests as he did not intend to be re-elected, TASS reports.
"I am not going to do another term, I cannot do it according to the Constitution. Between the opinion polls and the interests of the country I will choose the latter," he told the TF1 and France-2 TV channels in an interview. "If I have to face unpopularity, I am ready for it," he added.
The head of the state admitted that he had a responsibility to "settle the understandable anger", however, he pointed out that this anger should not turn into violence, which he said was unacceptable.
"Rallies, the participants of which show protest - this is legal. But its legality should not exceed the legality of democratic decisions, which come to life through the decisions of the people's deputies," Macron said.
A draft pension reform to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 years was presented in January. This initiative sparked rallies and strikes across the country. On March 16, the head of the French cabinet, Elisabeth Borne, used her constitutional powers and announced that the bill would be adopted without a vote in the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament). This decision sparked a new wave of rallies, which often ended in clashes with the police.