Macron could call May referendum: reports

President considering referendum on a range of issues on same day as European election

President Emmanuel Macron is considering holding what would be the first referendum in France in 14 years in response to the gilets jaunes protests, reports say.

The Election Office at the Ministry of the Interior has contacted printers in order to set aside envelopes and ballots in case the vote goes ahead, the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) said - despite opposition to the idea from ministers.

The newspaper reported that the French may be asked whether they wanted to reduce the number of MPs in the Assembly, which was already a campaign pledge of Mr Macron's, and whether the number of terms politicians could serve should be limited.

Other questions on economic, social and social economic issues could be included in the vote - which could take place on May 26, the same day as European elections.

The JDD cited several unnamed sources, with one quoted as saying, “We’ve taken all the necessary measures." Another said, “the chances of a May 26 referendum happening are very high”.

But Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday called on Mr Macron not to mix up domestic issues with the European vote. “What’s at stake in Europe is enough,” he said in an interview on France Inter radio.

He was not the only dissenter in government. European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on Sunday that a referendum vote on the same day as the European elections could “get in the way”.

If the multiple-choice referendum is to take place, Mr Macron is expected to announce it at the end of the so-called Grand Debat period, which is due to end on March 29.

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