ER Editor: It is interesting that a small group of elected deputies from the left within Macron’s own party (LREM) are the ones putting this forward. Marine Le Pen’s party is curiously silent on the matter of government overreach, except to say that they don’t support vaccine passports.
Journalist Jonathan Frickert rightly points out that Macron’s party is trying to occupy the ground of Marine Le Pen over the problem of Muslim influence within France. Such is their fear of losing to her in the 2022 presidential election. The left, however, are a clear faction within Macron’s party, some of whom are now speaking up on behalf of a citizenry sick of being treated like children. Such is the nature of Macron’s party in its attempt to straddle the middle ground, rendering other political alternatives pointless.
Is this left faction playing a bigger move, to attract a large swath of French voters who are both fed up with restrictions to their liberties and who hate Macron?
State of Health Emergency – The left of the majority says stop
French elected officials are calling for the establishment of a constitutional framework for the deployment of a state of emergency.
Marine Le Pen has been accused of being “soft” in the recent controversy on “Islamo-gauchisme” (ER: Islamo-leftism) at French universities … 14 months before the next presidential election, the Macron government is playing a dangerous game. By right-winging its speech, the Macronesia is trying to cut the grass under the foot of a potential right-wing candidate by occupying the sovereign ground. A strategy that is likely to free up space on the left of the majority whose electoral forecasts are far from encouraging.
The premise of this awakening: a salutary initiative taken by a handful of deputies from the left wing of Macron’s LREM party. Ten deputies thus asked the Prime Minister this past Thursday to end the state of health emergency. A welcome call that could indeed bring back lost liberties.
An extension that isn’t acceptable
There were ten of them. Led by the vice-president of the National Assembly Hugues Renson, member of En Commun, an ecological sub-party within LREM, co-founded last April by the current Minister of Ecological Transition, ten deputies of the majority wrote this Thursday, February 18, to Prime Minister Jean Castex asking the government to put an end to the state of health emergency. A letter that follows the law of February 15 extending this state of exception until June 1 and sixth text voted in this direction since March 2020. [ER: sic]
Voted mindlessly by parliamentarians struck by an ostensible resignation, this latest extension follows nearly a year of measures.
One year of state of exception
This year 2020 will indeed have shown the inventiveness of the legislator when it comes to restricting freedoms. In addition to the security issue with the much-discredited bills on global security (ER: among which is the proposed prohibition on filming police as they go about their work) and separatism, the health crisis will have allowed the government to restrict four major fundamental freedoms: movement, work, education and worship (ER: which has significantly impacted the freedom of political assembly and freedom of meeting family and friends).
Every crisis is a means for state power to increase its hold on individuals. The health crisis was no exception, so much so that the state of health emergency failed to become common law on the eve of the holiday season before the outcry of social networks forced the government to back down in just a few hours.
Despite this reprieve granted to the French, France still lives today under a confinement that does not say its name. In addition to the state of health emergency that lasted until June 1, what we know as a curfew is nothing more than night-time confinement.
A situation that the deputies of En Commun rightly remind us that it distorts our democracy.
To this end, the elected representatives are calling for a stricter constitutional framework for recourse to a state of emergency.
Towards an automatic lapse
Aware of this difficulty, the elected representatives are asking for the establishment of a constitutional framework for the recourse to a state of emergency. This framework should be essentially temporal and aim to limit the duration of this mechanism.
Interestingly, the letter proposes an automatic lapse of the state of emergency. This common sense proposal is already applied in France for certain contracts and urban development plans, but would benefit from being generalized in order to put an end not only to the question of the state of emergency, but more generally to the well-known legislative inflation that has plagued France.
The 300 Days Manifesto
These proposals are part of a general feeling of weariness of the French people that any elected representative with a minimum connection to his constituency will see for himself. The signatories of the letter sent this Thursday to the Prime Minister are particularly aware of this, calling for an assessment of what they rightly denounce as “300 days of a state of exception”.
If the formula disregards the numerous liberticidal laws passed in recent years that have made increasingly restrictive exceptional measures part of our common law, the letter addressed to Matignon (ER: where the Prime Minister resides) remains refreshing in a political context where freedom is often put on the back burner.
The revolution that cannot be found
Coup de grâce to the president of the Republic: the text finally recalls the words of the man who was still only a candidate for the supreme magistracy. In his seminal book, “Revolution”, published at the end of 2016, Emmanuel Macron called for an end to the anti-terrorist state of emergency.
According to the future head of state, the regime put in place after the wave of attacks of 2015 could not become a norm. “It is therefore necessary to return to ordinary law as reinforced by the legislator and to act with the right instruments,” he believed at the time, demonstrating a willingness not to indulge in arbitrariness that would prevail by prescription.
It is sadly ironic that a large part of the measures of this state of exception became common law less than six months after Emmanuel Macron’s entry into the Elysée Palace…
Don’t bite the hand that fed you
Ten days ago, a first initiative of about fifteen deputies already led by Hugues Renson called for a shift in government policy, this time not towards more freedom, but towards more equality. Hailed by the executive, the text will have given wings to this forgotten fringe of the majority.
If Emmanuel Macron seems to govern today on the right, he must not forget that he owes his election to the defectors of Francois Holland from which he himself came.
A reminder that can take astonishing forms and that it is difficult not to salute, so much so that the small group of elected representatives seems to have taken into account the aspiration of the French to a freedom that has been padlocked for almost a year.
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