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“Everything is expensive! “: will the fed up of the French show up at the polls?


These men and women are easily recognizable with, on their backs, the yellow vests they have been wearing for four years now.

On a bridge over a highway in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, they hang a few banners recalling their demands. Among the messages, one brings us back to the origin of the yellow vests movement: the rise in fuel prices.

tired. A reality that he explains, among other things, by the scenes of violence and repression which have been associated with certain demonstrations of yellow vests, but also with the COVID-19 pandemic.

I think a lot of people, unfortunately, have lost hope a bit, he says.

Yet concerns over the original demands of the Yellow Vests, cost of living and inflation, have rarely been so high on the agenda for voters.

Prices are rising, so are concerns

In October 2021, an Elabe poll carried out on behalf of BFMTV suggested that purchasing power was a priority for 45% of French people. In December, the firm Odoxa reached the same conclusion, noting a significant increase (11% more) of this theme among the priorities of voters compared to the last presidential election.

It is enough to move away from a few hundred meters from the demonstration of the yellow vests of Saint-Brieuc to note the importance that certain voters grant to the stakes related to the cost of living and inflation.

Everything is expensive!, launches Angèle, storing in her car the food she has just bought at the supermarket.

In 2021, inflation on average increased by 1.6%, which is the largest increase since 2018.

A service station in France.

Last week, fuel reached a price not seen for several years in France.

Photo: afp via getty images / LOIC VENANCE

The surge in prices in certain sectors has particularly contributed to this situation.

In addition to high fuel prices, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies indicates that the cost of natural gas has increased by almost 25% in one year.

Then, the Rural Families organization argues that the price of fruits and vegetables increased by 9% between September 2019 and September 2021.

The needs are great and I don’t think we’ve fully measured them yet. We discover them day after day, says one of the leaders of the organization, Hélène Oliviero.

Although statistics show that the purchasing power of the French has increased slightly in recent years, demand remains very high for the products stored in the 500 square meter premises.

I would say that when we, our activity increases, it’s a bit like when you go to the doctor. If you go to the doctor and you’re not well when you come to the food bank, there’s something missing. »

A quote from Hélène Oliveiro from the Côtes d’Armor food bank
The Côte d'Armor food bank warehouse in Brittany.

The products stored at the Côte-d’Armor food bank are in high demand.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair.

What do the candidates for the Élysée propose?

In response to the problems linked to inflation, Emmanuel Macron and his government announced certain measures, including the freezing of natural gas prices by April and the distribution of a check energy from one hundred euros to millions of French people.

Three months before the presidential election, the president’s opponents have also made several promises to relieve voters of a certain financial burden.

On the far right, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is proposing a reduction in the energy tax, while that of the right-wing Les Républicains party promises a reduction in social charges.

On the left, several candidates suggest raising the minimum wage for French workers.

Far from the political debate, in the premises of the food bank in the Saint-Brieuc region, volunteer Hélène Olivieri does not expect the problems caused by inflation to disappear quickly.

The simple products of life increase, labor does not increase. So alas yes, I believe that we will still be needed in ten years, she predicted.

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