Months ago, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that he was going to begin hosting a Grand Débat, or a nationwide debate, in order to give a voice to people who have felt unheard so far during his presidency.
Over the last two months, more than 10,000 meetings have taken place across France, from tiny town hall discussions to huge, extremely publicized events. And the disparity between debates has seemed as big as the disparity between French people today—many have been held without a single government representative present. Meanwhile other, more high-profile debates, attended by high-ranking government politicians are more structured, more censored, and give pre-vetted speakers the opportunity to give pre-vetted speeches, as long as they are willing to speak on pre-selected topics.
The debates are over, and the 1.5 million complaints and ideas have been sent direct to Macron’s government, who will spend the next few weeks trying to summarize and condense the key ideas expressed. Results are expected in mid-April, but no one knows quite what those results will look like.