Petition to block privatised airports hits one million signatures

REUTERS - Christian Hartmann

Opponents of a government plan to privatise Paris’s airports received a boost on Wednesday after their petition garnered more than one million signatures, crossing a symbolic threshold that could trigger a referendum on the issue.

France’s Constitutional Council registered 1,000,500 signatures, up from the previous count of 969,000 on 20 November. Campaigners for the petition rallied on Saturday at Paris’s Place de la République with the aim of exceeding one million signatories in order to hold Macron to a promise he made during the gilets jaunes crisis to lower the threshold for a referendum relating to future reforms. Under French law the petition would require support from 10 percent of all registered voters or 4.7 million people to trigger a referendum.

President Emmanuel Macron’s divisive plan to sell off part or all of the state’s 50.6 percent share of Aeroports de Paris (ADP) has drawn criticism from across the political divide.

Some 250 lawmakers from the left and right galvanised to fight the proposal by turning to a constitutional device – the Popular Initiative Referendum (RIP) – back in April, which was introduced into the constitution in 2008 but has never been used.

When news broke that the threshold had been reached, Socialist Party spokesman Boris Vallaud called out to Macron on Twitter, saying: “You were asking for 1,000,000 signatures for a referendum? We are there today (…).

Key lawmakers have already announced that they will request a meeting with President Macron.

Source: FRANCE 24 with AFP