French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he wanted to “piss” the non-vaccinated in a slang-like, cutting remark that led to howls of condemnation from opposition rivals less than four months before the next presidential election.
“The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And then we will continue to do so until the end. That is the strategy, “Macron told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview published late Tuesday.
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Last year, France introduced a health passport that prevents people without a PCR test or proof of vaccination from entering restaurants, cafes and other places. The government wants to make it a vaccine pass, which means that only the vaccinated can get a health pass.
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“I do not want to send (the unvaccinated) to prison, I do not want to vaccinate by force. So we have to tell them that from January 15, you will not be able to go to restaurant anymore, you will not be able to down one, will not be able to get a cup coffee, going to the theater, the cinema… “
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The term “emmerder”, from “merde” (shit), which can also be translated to “get on their nerves”, is considered “very informal” by the French dictionary Larousse and prompted immediate criticism from rivals on social media.
Macron has previously been criticized for out-of-the-box remarks that many Frenchmen said came across as arrogant, cutting or scornful. He has later expressed remorse on several occasions.
“A president should not say that,” far-right Marine Le Pen said on Twitter. “Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
In the detailed interview, Macron’s first in the new year, the president also said he had a good mind to run for re-election in April, but he did not explicitly announce his intention to run.
“I want to do it,” Macron said.
As the clear favorite in the polls, Macron has not yet officially said he was running, even though his lieutenants are already preparing a campaign.