Controversial Proposal to Eliminate Presidential Term Limit Rattles Macron’s Inner Circle.

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Richard Ferrand, a former MP and parliamentary speaker who is one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s closest political allies, caused a stir on Monday by endorsing constitutional amendments that would allow the head of state to seek a third term in office. In an interview with the right-wing Figaro newspaper, Ferrand expressed his opposition to the current constitutional limit of two terms, which would require Macron to step down in 2027. His remarks garnered attention, generating headlines and drawing criticism from political opponents.

Ferrand not only criticized the presidential term limits but also questioned the 2014 regulations that prohibit MPs and senators from simultaneously serving as mayors or regional heads. He argued that these rules place constraints on public life, limiting citizens’ freedom of choice. Ferrand called for a comprehensive overhaul while advocating for the preservation of the bicameral system and the Constitutional Council, which safeguards republican principles and public liberties.

Critics from both the left and the right accused Ferrand, who was among Macron’s earliest supporters, of adopting the tactics and rhetoric of authoritarian leaders. Right-wing senator Alain Houpert remarked, “Changing the constitution to stay in power… the last two people to do it are called Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin,” alluding to the leaders of China and Russia. Mathilde Panot, the parliamentary head of the hard-left France Unbowed party, labeled Ferrand as the “face of authoritarian drift under Macron.”

Highlighting the irony, France frequently urges African leaders to respect term limits, as attempts to cling to power have caused crises in various countries across the continent. Responding to the backlash, Ferrand released a statement expressing concern about the reaction on social media and in the media, stating that the proposal he discussed in the Figaro interview was not his own. In an interview with Sud Radio, he clarified that he was not suggesting a change before the next presidential elections scheduled for 2027, emphasizing the importance of maintaining consistent rules throughout the electoral process.

Ferrand, who experienced an unexpected defeat in last year’s parliamentary elections due to anti-Macron voting patterns, has since remained largely out of the public eye. Nevertheless, he maintains a close relationship with the president, serving as a trusted confidant and advisor.

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