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, a bill extending this exceptional regime until the 1 er June (initially scheduled to end on February 16). The text provides for a “review clause” in the Chamber by then.
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, the freedom to undertake or even the freedom to 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 to make this epidemic control regime sustainable, before backpedal and opt for a four-month extension.
Find all of our articles on the state of health emergency and its trivialization.
Before the vote, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, defended at the rostrum a “Responsibility text”: “This extension is now essential, 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”, due to the new variants.
A motion to reject … rejected
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. Such a motion has for “Object 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.
“Blackmail to irresponsibility”
“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 before the Law Commission, two hours after publication on the website of the Assembly, the very afternoon when it was in the Council of Ministers… ” demonstrated UDI Pascal Brindeau. The Senate will in turn examine the bill next Wednesday, January 27.