100 members to quit Macron party over ‘lack of democracy’

100 members to quit Macron party over ‘lack of democracy’
Some 100 activists from Emmanuel Macron’s political party are quitting because the movement “offends fundamental principles of democracy” and shows “arrogance and contempt” for its dialogue-seeking members.

The disillusioned members of the ruling Republic on the Move (LREM) party announced that they would leave the movement ahead of the LREM Congress which is to take place in the city of Lyon on Saturday, the FranceInfo channel reported, releasing the group’s bitterly-worded manifesto

Calling themselves “100 democrats,” the group is said to mostly include ordinary members, but also some elected officials and regional heads. “Democracy is no longer on the move!”  screams the manifesto’s title, playing upon the party’s name. 

The outgoing activists accuse the party of neglecting freedoms of thought and expression. The party “offends fundamental principles of democracy,” and its members feel an “ideological void” and witness a “perverse game of courting” within the party, they say.

“The angry [party members] tried to establish a dialogue, to suggest ways of improvement, to invite the actors to listen to each other, and to ask a third party to open a mediation,” the manifesto reads. “The contempt and arrogance they have suffered, threats or intimidation are not benevolent practices.”

“The 100 democrats” announced their decision to quit the party less than a month after reports emerged saying that French government spokesman Christophe Castaner would lead LREM. The name of the party leader will be revealed at the LREM congress on Saturday. So far, Castaner is the only candidate for the position, according to French media. 

“The next ‘coronation’ of Christophe Castaner, elected as the head of the party ahead of time in the absence of competitors, leaves little hope for activists waiting for democracy,” the manifestо reads.

In late October, Castaner said that Macron backed his candidacy. “If he chose me and supported my candidacy in the collective talks we’re having, it’s because I’ve got the support of the party’s rank and file,” Castaner told RTL radio at that time. 

In June, LREM, which has some 380,000 members, scored a landslide victory, winning a majority of seats in France’s parliamentary elections. The party, formed by Macron just a year ago, enjoyed one of the biggest parliamentary majorities since Charles de Gaulle’s ruling party in 1968, giving the new French leader a strong mandate to start implementing his policies.