Eric Coquerel at the head of the Finance Committee

Eric Coquerel at the head of the Finance Committee

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It is a weighty trophy for the Insoumis: the deputy Eric Coquerel was elected Thursday to the presidency of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, a strategic position devolved to the opposition and which the RN hoped for. Matignon also told AFP that Elisabeth Borne’s general policy statement will take place on Wednesday in the Assembly and the Senate.

Common candidate of the left-wing coalition Nupes (LFI, PS, EELV, PCF), the elected representative of Seine-Saint-Denis – tie for the occasion – won in the third round with 21 votes against 11 for the candidate RN Jean-Philippe Tanguy and 9 for LR Véronique Louwagie, while the majority deputies abstained. After three suspensions of the session, the deputy Charles de Courson (Freedoms, Independents, Overseas and Territories) had withdrawn his candidacy for this decisive round and voted LR.

The Finance Committee, whose presidency has been reserved for the opposition since 2007, plays a strategic role in examining budgets before their arrival in the Chamber or bills such as the one on purchasing power expected in July. The presidency offers access to information covered by tax secrecy, without however being able to reveal it. The mandate runs for one year, like all the presidencies of permanent committees.

“No Witch Hunt”

Elected officials LREM, LR or RN had accused Eric Coquerel of wanting to use his prerogatives for political purposes, while the LFI deputy shouted at “fake news”. “We have to stop with that, the idea is not to go on a personal witch hunt”, he repeated Thursday upon his election, in the hall of the Four Columns. He promised debates on the “substance” and was delighted that “the National Assembly will again become a little more the political center of gravity of this country”.

Aged 63, Eric Coquerel was the favorite as a common candidate for Nupes. He was preferred internally to the socialist Valérie Rabault. Forced to give up in the face of the leadership of the LFI, the most important left-wing force in the Assembly, she obtained in exchange a vice-presidency of the institution. Mr. Coquerel already sat in this commission of some 70 members during the previous legislature.

Immediately after the election, the RN candidate Jean-Philippe Tanguy again denounced the “piracy” of Nupes and an “illegitimate presidency” of LFI, despite the “unifying words of good quality” from Eric Coquerel. The National Rally hoped for an anti-LFI front and the voices of LR. “It’s a shame, now they will manage Mr. Coquerel and his friends,” added Mr. Tanguy.

The far-right party believes that the presidency should have returned to it as the first opposition group with 89 deputies, while the Nupes, 151 elected in total, is made up of four distinct groups. But the regulations simply stipulate that the post must go to an elected member of an opposition group. For Patrick Hetzel (LR), “things went as planned arithmetically. It’s an election for a year, by then, we’ll see if it went wrong”.

Parity in question

The deputy of the majority Jean-René Cazeneuve (Renaissance, new name of LREM), the only candidate, obtained the other key position of this commission, general rapporteur for the Budget. The other committee presidencies are shared between 7 elected from the majority: 5 Renaissance, an elected Horizons and a MoDem. At Les Lois, in particular, it is Sacha Houlié (Renaissance), 33, who will chair. In Social Affairs, Fadila Khattabi (Renaissance) was re-elected, while her colleague Stéphanie Rist (Renaissance) will be general rapporteur.

Unlike in 2017, parity is not respected in these senior positions. But the macronists take shelter behind the election of Yaël Braun-Pivet as President of the Assembly, the first woman to perch, and Aurore Bergé as patroness of the LREM parliamentary group, as well as female vice-presidencies. These elections come the day after a hectic day at the Palais Bourbon to form the office of the institution, but also for the executive, faced with the opening of an investigation for attempted rape after a woman filed a complaint. against the Minister of Solidarity Damien Abad.

What will Emmanuel Macron decide, back in France on Thursday evening after a long tunnel of international summits, and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne? The question of maintaining Mr. Abad in government has been raised, while a reshuffle is due to take place soon. For a majority executive, the complaint “changes the game” and “it’s nobody’s interest that remains”.

(With AFP)

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