‘Misunderstanding’ not permitted
- been Député of this Constituency for 18 years
- served as Mayor of one of the 10 towns in the Constituency for 21 years (and is only giving up because the law now forbids doubling up those elected offices), and
- in 2012’s Legislative Elections won 45% in Round 1, and 60% in Round 2 against a ‘Left Radical’
actually be feeling just a tad uneasy? That’s far from impossible.
Especially because when adding up all the votes in Round 1 of the Presidential Election, Macron was only a couple of hundred votes behind Fillon in this Constituency.
And that probably explains why our elegant Député writes in his first handout (available in market-places/through front doors) that, following Mr Macron’s victory, ‘the Nation cannot allow itself the additional luxury of inexperience and the absence of political nous in charge of the country, as well as a recycled Socialist term of office’
The Government ‘determines and conducts the politics of the nation’. Parliament votes on the laws and can overthrow the Government.
The President’s an ‘arbiter’ who oversees the functioning of the authorities and ensures the continuity of the State. The President has no responsibility for matters other than foreign affairs/defence; so pensions/unemployment/pensions/tax/Labour law etc are all matters within the jurisdiction of Parliament, and hence Government.
Should President Macron fail to get a majority in the Legislative Elections, he can again nominate a Government of his own choosing, but that might lead to a succession of Governments being voted down and even the National Assembly being dissolved: leading to a paralysis of the institutions of government.
Even the idea of governing by executive order (ordonnance) does not allow the President to carry out his programme. Only the Government can issue ordonnances, and that provided Parliament has approved. The President can therefore block ordonnances with which he disagrees (by refusing to sign them), but cannot force legislation through against the wishes of Parliament.
New National Assembly
No less than 216 of the ‘current’ 577 Députés will not be standing again for the National Assembly. While many of those who are standing are likely to lose. So maybe upwards of half the Députés will be newcomers to Parliament: that will be the biggest clear-out of Députés for nearly 60 years, the entire term of the 5th Republic.
Revising the Labour Law
Mélenchon is proudly claiming the role of Pre-Emptive Strike Force Leader against President Macron’s proposed changes to the Labour Law. These changes are almost certainly intended to be effected by ordonnance [Executive Order], rather than Parliamentary Debate and subsequent changes to statute, so that (as candidate Macron said) the reform can proceed ‘rapidly and effectively’.
However, in order to proceed on this route, Parliament must approve a law permitting the Government so to legislate by ordonnance. Article 49-3 of the Constitution specifically allows the Government to pass legislation without Parliamentary debate unless Parliament actually passes a motion of no confidence in the Government. This procedure has been used by Governments of all political hues 88 times under the 5th Republic.
‘For us’, declared Mélenchon, ‘the Labour Law is the history of the struggles of the workers’ movement. Page after page, these are acquired rights … and if the Labour Law is sometimes complex, that’s because the MEDEF [major large employer’s federation] has never stopped wanting to introduce special dispensations here and there’. Mélenchon insists it is ‘grotesque’ to call the Labour Law, with its 3000 pages, too complex, ‘Does anyone complain that the telephone directory is too thick?’
President Macron spent yesterday individually meeting the leaders of eight of the most significant trade unions, as well as the employers’ federations. A good way to demonstrate his commitment to listening before acting. But, as Le Monde pointed out, it seems a bit odd that the Prime Minister was no part of that dialogue: just the President, the ever-present Elysée Secretary-General, plus his adviser on social issues.
PM Philippe explained away his absence saying, ‘The Elysée sets out the overall strategy and the Prime Minister ensures it gets done’ … but today the PM, as well as the Minister of Labour, had their own chance to meet them all.
A couple of deeply unsavoury Parliamentary candidates
Sarkozy’s Hard-Right ex-speechwriter, Guaino (who, despite constant promises to the contrary, keeps reappearing in these posts) was not allowed to stand for his current seat in the Yvelines. Is he now too unpleasant even for Les Républicains? So he’s wandered Pariswards to fight wishy-washy-wet-semi-liberal-lefty-centrist Kosciusko-Morizet (ex-Environment Minister).
Deeply unpleasant ‘comedian’ Dieudonné, whose language regularly flirts with antisemitic tropes and is often brought before the judiciary will be a candidate in the Legislative Elections. He’s standing against Manuel Valls (former Socialist PM who lost the Socialist nomination, abandoned the Socialist ship but too late found himself persona non grata at Macron’s LREM) who will find himself in great difficulty against Mélenchon’s candidate. Dieudonne’s paired himself with the young tearaway from Brittany who threw a punch at Valls during the Socialist Primary campaign and got 3 months for his pains. After Dieudonné fails to win, he will go off to be Presidential candidate in Cameroon in 2018.
- LREM (President Macron) 30% [33% in today’s most recent Elabe poll]
- Front National 19.5%
- LR/UDI (right/centre-right) 19%
- France Insoumise/CP (hard left) 15% [12% in Elabe]
- PS/EELV (socialists/greens 10%
OpinionWay : 48% not certain who they will vote for. 38% uninterested by the campaign. [Harris found 80% to be very/fairly interested in the campaign.] 49% want Macron to have a Parliamentary majority, 49% don’t.
Elabe says that 67% of voters believe that President Macron’s initial steps have been in the right direction, with 56% of voters wanting him to get an overall majority
OpinionWay’s Parliamentary projection based on all-important hypotheses (eg the number of Socialists with local support despite the Party’s very low overall vote):
- LREM: 280-300
- LR/UDI: 150-170
- PS/EELV: 40-50
- FI/CP: 20-25
- FN: 10-15
The Elabe poll, if replicated, could well be the first serious pointer towards President Macron ending up with a Parliamentary majority. Were that to happen, that would perhaps be an even more extraordinary achievement than his own winning of the Presidency. Has France really decided it wants to change?