Security Law: behind the scenes of a day of demining on Article 24

It is with very cold anger that Emmanuel Macron greets the participants in the meeting organized urgently this Monday, November 30 in the morning at the Elysee Palace. To Prime Minister Jean Castex, to ministers Gérald Darmanin (Interior), Eric Dupond-Moretti (Justice), Roselyne Bachelot (Culture), to the presidents of majority groups in the National Assembly, Christophe Castaner (LREM), Patrick Mignola ( MoDem), Olivier Becht (Agir), the president appears “very annoyed”, confides a government source, who remembers his “icy and martial tone” when discussing the political situation in which the executive has become entangled .

“He started by saying that we could have avoided all that”, summarizes a government adviser. An executive undermined by tensions and more than ever under pressure, after a week marked by police violence and the political crisis caused by article 24 of the proposed law on comprehensive security, which plans to penalize the malicious dissemination of the image of the police. To the point of leading the Head of State to take things in hand.

“A co-production of political errors”

“When there is a reaction like this in the country, it is necessarily the result of a co-production of political errors,” said the head of state before the heads of his majority. To whom he reminds the need to maintain a balance – “order, freedoms, unity” – while raining criticism of the authoritarian drift of the executive. “We must be careful that France is not pointed out as a country which restricts freedoms, because it is not our DNA”, insists, according to a participant, the President of the Republic, who supports: ” Illiberalism is not our identity ”.

Monday, Emmanuel Macron once again called for concrete actions and results on the police-population relationship (as several times already during the year) and on the fight against discrimination. Jean Castex, as well as the ministers concerned, should moreover come back to it very quickly.

PODCAST. Why Article 24 had become untenable

But at the beginning of the week, the first emergency consisted in extinguishing the fire caused by article 24. From the top of the State to the corridors of the Assembly, all agreed, “we had to move quickly” on this ultra point. -contested. During the meeting at the Elysee, a round table is enough to agree on its fate. The day before, already, during an exchange in Matignon with the executives of LREM (but without Gérald Darmanin), Jean Castex had been shown “quite convinced that article 24 had lived in its current form”, according to a guest.

A retreat that looks like a reframing of Gérald Darmanin

Certainly, the Minister of the Interior does not wipe the snub of an outright suppression for which some are pleading internally. “A rewriting of the article or the establishment of a Théodule committee could not put an end to the mistrust felt by a part of the population”, judges the LREM deputy Pierre Person, in an interview with Le Parisien – Today in France.

The fact remains that this Monday looks like a reframing for the Minister of the Interior, who the same morning in front of the LREM deputies “camped on his positions”, says a participant. “It is not the line of those who advocated the deletion of the article or the disappearance of the provision, which won”, retorts his entourage.

The leaders of the groups (LREM, Modem, Agir) of the majority in the Assembly, however, set the tone: a “total rewrite” of article 24. “There is some vagueness and therefore perhaps a wolf”, even let go of Christophe Castaner, the predecessor of Gerald Darmanin in Beauvau, by promising “transparency”.

VIDEO. Global Security Law: Castaner announces “a new writing” of article 24

After the Elysee Palace, in the morning, it was in Matignon that these majority executives had an appointment on Monday evening to “discuss the legislative vehicle and the calendar”. And this, while the text is in the hands of the Senate. The opposition was divided between denouncing “hacks” and a “fiasco”, facing a still very elusive majority on how it intends to modify the controversial measure.

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