Obstruction, a new macronist passion

Have you ever heard of parliamentary guerrillas? The expression lets imagine deputies in the process of attacking suspensions of sessions, squatting in the bays to trap points of order, when they are not detaching bundles of amendments. The goal? Buying time and slowing down the review of a law, for good or bad reasons. This is called filibuster. It is, in principle, a weapon of opposition. Except that it is increasingly used by the government. During the parliamentary niches of November 24 and December 1, where the FI then LR deputies were respectively able to decide on the texts to be debated (as is the case for each parliamentary group once a year), it is the executive and the majority macronist who deliberately slowed down the debates. A practice that is added to another, compulsive, and this time devolved to the Prime Minister: 49.3.

the obstacle of the democratic debate, subject of amusement of the government

Elisabeth Borne used this article for the tenth time this year, Thursday, in the Assembly, to impose a budget text without debate. The head of government accuses the opposition of being behind the blockage. His speech rings false. So much so that it caused a nervous giggle at Élisabeth Borne on December 12th. On the podium, when activating her ninth 49.3, here she is questioning her opponents: “Why are you so afraid of the debate? » she said, interrupting him. The reversal of roles is such that it arouses hilarity on the benches. The Prime Minister herself begins to smile, then to burst out laughing. A deliquescent spectacle: the enslavement of Parliament by the executive, the prevention of democratic, standardized and automated debate, become the subject of amusement for a government that no longer believes in its own arguments.

A few days earlier, on December 9, the Assembly organized for the first time in its history a reconstruction of the great debates on the law of separation of Church and State of 1905. Professionals from the Comédie-Française embodied live and from the Hemicycle the speakers of the time, including Aristide Briand and Jean Jaurès, in front of hundreds of college and high school students. The rereading, even the reincarnation, of a fascinating parliamentary debate. But what will the re-enactments of the 2022 budget debates look like in a hundred years? Has an authoritarian and buffoonish exercise.

Admittedly, Macronie only has a relative majority, a situation which had led the Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard to multiply the 49.3 from 1988 to 1991. “But the 49.3 is now being used with unprecedented speed,” measure Valérie Rabault. The PS vice-president of the Assembly underlines that, concerning the adoption of a finance law, “Up to now, 49.3 had always been triggered after a complete or almost complete revision of the text. But, this year, the 49.3 arrive when we could not even discuss a quarter of the content of the texts ». A manifest additional anti-democratic practice, to which is added another violence: the articles adopted before the end of the debates by the deputies were for many deleted in the text then imposed by the executive. However, these are texts of capital importance, since they organize the country’s finances, the expenditure and revenue of the State and Social Security, for amounts of several hundred billion euros.

“Who is obstructing parliamentary debate today? It’s the government. He does this with 49.3 and with amendments and points of order when he does not control the agenda. Obstruction has long been a weapon of opposition to executive power in the Ve Republic. But now we have a weakened majority that uses the weapon of the weak,” notes the PS deputy Arthur Delaporte. “During the crenels, the government engaged in an obstruction all the more scandalous as the crenel represents one of the only spaces of freedom for the opposition. Respect for democracy does not invite them to rationalize, but to multiply the niches “, adds FI MP Matthias Tavel.

And for the start of the school year, Macronie is already preparing minds for the use of 49.3 on its pension reform project. “I would be disappointed if parliamentarians chose the path of a massive tabling of amendments, which would deprive the National Assembly of this debate”, warned the President of the Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, who does not rule out the use of atomic weapons to pass the text. The method had already been used in 2019 by Édouard Philippe during the previous attempt to reform pensions, aborted. The Prime Minister at the time waved a 49.3 against the tens of thousands of amendments tabled. “When there is a debate to hear, we use all the tools at our disposal. On pensions, it was necessary to open the discussion as broadly as possible, and to absolutely shed light on the content of a text that the government wanted to hide. I recall that the Council of State had denounced a lacunary and insincere text. I remind you that the government did not want to specify either the minimum amount of the pension or the retirement age. We had no choice but to alert public opinion and multiply the amendments to obtain answers and avert the dangers. said Pierre Dharréville.

The PCF deputy adds that what the deputies want, “It is speaking time, which has been considerably reduced from one reform of the rules to another in the Assembly, in order to avoid a substantive discussion. We are determined to use all the levers to impose a free debate, it is our role as parliamentarians”. In this sense, the start of the new school year already promises to be tough.

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Obstruction, a new macronist passion

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