France has not emerged from the state of health emergency. The National Assembly voted, this Wednesday, January 20, by 113 votes against 43, in the accelerated examination procedure, the bill extending this exceptional regime until the 1er June (initially scheduled to end on February 16). The text provides for a “review clause” in the Chamber by then, with the possibility of extending it again until December 31, if the situation in the spring is still not satisfactory.
As a reminder, the state of health emergency is what allows the Prime Minister to adopt, by decree and without consulting parliamentarians, the measures establishing the curfew, limiting the freedom of movement, that of undertaking or of meet. It was introduced for the first time from March 23 to July 10, 2020, then a second time, on October 17, 2020. Originally, the government had planned a bill making it possible to make this epidemic control regime sustainable, before back-pedaling and opting for a four-month extension.
“It is democracy which is a guarantee of efficiency”
The debates in the Chamber were akin to a dialogue of the deaf between the government, supported by its majority and its allies from the Modem and Agir groups, and the opposition, on the right and on the left. Before the vote, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, defended at the rostrum a “Responsibility text”: “This extension is essential today, I understand the weariness, but it is out of the question to deprive yourself of a legal framework dedicated to the fight against the virus”, before evoking a “Increased risk of epidemic resumption », Because of the new variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa.
A motion of preliminary rejection was proposed by the socialist group, but it was rejected, despite the support of the rebellious groups, GDR, Libertés et Territoires and “Les Républicains”, who also opposed the prorogation. The purpose of such a motion is “to recognize that the proposed text is contrary to one or more constitutional provisions, or to decide that there is no need to deliberate”. If it had been adopted, it would have resulted in the rejection of the text without a vote on its content.
“No one disputes the need for rapid action. What we dispute is that this requires an exceptional regime, explained PCF deputy Stéphane Peu. On the contrary, it is democracy which is a guarantee of efficiency. “You say that if we are against prorogation, we are irresponsible. Let’s stop this irresponsible blackmail! the deputy LR Ian Boucard got carried away. It is a text which deprives Parliament of its legislative powers. “” We are tired of having to explain to you, Minister, that Parliament is not an obstacle! Think that the text which is submitted to us today was discussed by the Law Commission the same afternoon when it passed in the Council of Ministers… I believe that never, under the VeRepublic, the National Assembly has not been so much a shadow theater ”,demonstrated UDI Pascal Brindeau. The Senate will in turn examine the bill next Wednesday, January 27. The question of the fate of regional and departmental, as well as that of the conditions of the campaign if the state of emergency were to stretch further should be particularly discussed.