Sacred contrast. In July 2017, with a large majority in the Assembly, Emmanuel Macron opened the parliamentary session with a grand speech at 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 at the Palais-Bourbon. But the president has already taken up his summer quarters at Fort de Brégançon.
Withdrawn, the “Jupiterian” president? “It’s rather a good thing,” said 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 the discussions. legislative and to be omnipresent, from the moment he has the necessary relays”, he continues.
A notable change for a president who, last year, decided himself to suspend the technical control of two-wheelers. But this “new posture” was announced even before the legislative elections, for the constitutionalist Anne-Charlène Bezzina.
“From his inauguration speech, he already promised a new method and announced that it would be based on a kind of great permanent debate which he had already mentioned in his candidacy letter to the French”, she underlines.
With the loss of the absolute majority, the will displayed has become an imperative. The French “did not want to give too much elbow room to Emmanuel Macron 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 us recall the yellow vests -, very dramatic even for France”, estimates on France 2 the political scientist Bruno Cautrès.
– Back “in the hard” –
Will Emmanuel Macron remain in overhang, focused on the international? “I’m not sure that during the five years, he can completely manage to maintain this posture. Unless the Prime Minister really succeeds in incarnating the role of leader of her majority, of leader, which for the moment she does not doesn’t seem to take yet,” said Ms. Bezzina.
After her general policy statement, Elisabeth Borne was rather discreet, intervening little during questions to the government when the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire was omnipresent.
A profile that is too “technical” and not “political” enough, as François Bayrou had suggested? “She’s a little more absent than you might imagine.” But “as we have a relative and heterogeneous majority, a Prime Minister who would be very political or too marked politically would potentially be a problem”, judges Mr. Derosier.
Constrained or desired, 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 such a disciplined majority, so cloaked that one would have thought it was useless”, for the constitutionalist .
“Everything that was played out in interministerial meetings is now played out in committee (in Parliament), democracy is gaining a lot,” adds a minister.
Another illustration: the absence of an extraordinary parliamentary session in September in the two legislative chambers. To leave time for “consultation” and prepare the texts upstream, such as the immigration bill, postponed in favor of a great debate.
But in the fall, “we are going to get into the hard stuff: structural reforms, in particular pension reform. We are going to come back to the question of the conditions for unemployment compensation, therefore subjects which will make political divisions reappear a lot more difficult”, judges 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,” said a majority official.