Yellow vest protests: citizens and politicians battle for control of political agenda


One of the key demands made by the 'yellow vest', or 'gilet jaune', protestors in France is for the holding of what are called citizens initiative referendums. How exactly should such a demand be interpreted? In an interview with Mediapart academic Julien O'Miel, a specialist in participative democracy, sees it as a desire by citizens to take control of the political agenda. Pauline Graulle reports.

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The idea of “citizens initiatives” in which citizens get to choose what subjects are at the centre of public debate is gaining ground in the wake of the 'yellow vest' or 'gilet jaune' protests that have swept France in recent weeks. Mediapart interviewed academic Julien O'Miel, a lecturer in political science at Lille University in northern France and who has studied such initiatives at first hand, in particular in Italy, for his views on the issue.