For the executive and its “new method”, the hardest part remains to come
Emmanuel Macron in retreat, Elisabeth Borne rather discreet, the resumption of parliamentary hostilities postponed: the “new method” of the executive has crossed the first major political sequence of the five-year term without great difficulties, but the start of the new year promises to be turbulent on all fronts.
Holy contrast. In July 2017, with a bloated majority in the Assembly, Emmanuel Macron opened the parliamentary session with a major speech in Versailles and promulgated the first laws and ordinances on television.
Five years later, with the government lacking an absolute majority, parliamentarians held nightly sessions in the Senate and the Palais-Bourbon. But the president, for his part, has already taken up his summer quarters at the Fort of Brégançon.
In retreat, the “Jupiterian” president? “This is rather a good thing,” says constitutionalist Jean-Philippe Derosier.
“According to General De Gaulle’s formula, the President of the Republic should only be in charge of the essentials. Everyone is free to interpret the term. But it is not up to the president to interfere in legislative discussions and to be omnipresent, as long as he has the necessary relays,” he continues.
A notable change for a president who, last year, decided himself to suspend the technical inspection of two-wheelers. But this “new posture” was announced even before the legislative elections, for the constitutionalist Anne-Charlène Bezzina.
“As soon as his inauguration speech, he already promised a new method and announced that it would be based on a kind of great permanent debate that he had already shared in his candidacy letter to the French,” she emphasizes.
With the loss of the absolute majority, the will displayed has become an imperative. The French “did not want to give Emmanuel Macron too frank elbows for a second term, as if they had perhaps learned the lessons of the first. We had a succession of crises, very painful moments – let’s recall the yellow vests -, very dramatic even for France,” political scientist Bruno Cautrès believes on France 2.
– Re-entry “in the hard” –
Will Emmanuel Macron remain overhanging, focused on the international? “I’m not sure that during the five years, he can completely manage to hold this posture. Unless the Prime Minister really succeeds in embodying a role of leader of her majority, leader, which at the moment she does not yet seem to take,” believes Ms. Bezzina.
After her general policy statement, Elisabeth Borne was rather discreet, intervening little during questions to the government when the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire was omnipresent.
A profile that is too “technical” and not “political” enough, as François Bayrou had suggested? “She is a little more absent than we could imagine”. But “since we have a relative and heterogeneous majority, a Prime Minister who would be very political or too politically marked would potentially be a problem,” Mr. Derosier judges.
Forced or intended, the “new method” places the Assembly and the Senate at the heart of public decision-making. The sequence “recalled the importance of Parliament, almost the existence of Parliament. With the previous legislature, we had a majority so disciplined, so godillote that we could have thought that it was useless”, for the constitutionalist.
“Everything that was played in interdepartmental meetings is now played in committee (in Parliament), democracy is gaining a lot,” adds a minister.
Another illustration is the absence of an extraordinary parliamentary session in September in both legislative chambers. To allow time for “consultation” and prepare the texts upstream, such as the immigration bill, postponed in favor of a major debate.
But in the autumn, “we are going to get into the hard part: structural reforms, in particular pension reform. We are going to come back to the issue of unemployment compensation conditions, so topics that will bring back much more difficult political divides,” judge Mr. Cautrès.
“We welcome the adoption of the texts. But who is against the end of the state of health emergency and purchasing power? Hostilities will start at the start of the school year, and no one seems to want to see the crisis wall that is in front of us,” believes a majority official.
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