Take on the institutional debate

Editorial of the “World”. Fifteen months before the presidential election, François Bayrou has launched a paving stone in the pond by leading the offensive around the method of electing deputies. The boss of the Modem wrote to the President of the Republic to ask for the burial of the majority ballot in two rounds from the next legislative elections, scheduled for 2022. Chosen in 1958 by General de Gaulle to guarantee, through the majority fact, stability institutions, this voting method is regularly contested by the “small” parties which ended up growing without being able to obtain in the National Assembly the representation of their electoral weight.

On behalf of the ” fair ” representation of political forces, the centrist wants deputies to be elected by proportional representation, as was the case once, under the Ve Republic, at the will of François Mitterrand. In his fight, François Bayrou enlisted the leaders of La France insoumise, of Europe Ecology-Les Verts, of the National Rally, of the UDI, who are the victims of the current system. The ultra-majority LRM deputies, for their part, are divided, despite the promise of candidate Macron to instill a dose of it during his mandate. Not at all discouraged, the centrist set himself the objective of having a bill passed by the end of the legislature, on condition that he convince a sufficient number of elected officials.

The most astonishing, in this sequence, is the embarrassed silence of the executive, which fears the incomprehension of the French. The Elysee and Matignon resort to the same plea: it is too late to open the file, the health crisis crushes everything, the French would not understand. Worse, they would suspect a “tampering”, as in 1986: by allowing the entry of thirty-five deputies of the National Front to the National Assembly, François Mitterrand had in fact succeeded in weakening the right which threatened him, but the context, today, is different: it is less a question of attempting a Florentine maneuver than of filling in the weaknesses of a representative democracy in great difficulty.

At work since the adoption of the five-year term in 2000, the presidentialization of the regime has further increased under this mandate. Paralyzed by the state of health emergency, Parliament is chomping at the bit, the intermediary bodies are marginalized, while the President of the Republic plays tightrope walker on an increasingly eruptive country. Far from leading to a sharing of powers, the succession of crises that marked Macron’s mandate resulted in the dangerous concentration of responsibility on the head of one man.

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Proponents of proportional representation defend the coalition scheme in which the stakeholders, without giving up their diversity, enter into contracts. It is the antidote to verticality. His opponents recall that, under the IVe Republic, the executive was weakened to the point of being paralyzed. The debate is serious. It must be brought to light to burst the abscess of the democratic crisis and reposition the various actors (president, prime minister, parliament, citizens) in a system which suffers from not having been rethought in line with the latest constitutional revisions.

At the dawn of the next quinquennium, these questions are anything but political. They are part of the essential reflection around democratic exercise. The worst would be that the bill makes its way in indifference, on the pretext that the French would not have had the head to seize it.

The world

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