The National Assembly adapts its rules in times of crisis



The National Assembly wants to anticipate future crises. Since May 2020, after the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, MEPs from all political groups have been considering a ” toolbox “. After the drafting of two first versions, the deputies adopted, Monday 1er March, a modification of their internal regulations to improve their mode of operation.

Indeed, parliamentarians no longer wanted to see “The vote of the texts with two deputies per group, in the period of astonishment which followed the appearance of the virus”, convenient “Unnatural with regard to the usual rules of proportionality”, recalled the rapporteur for the motion for a resolution, Sylvain Waserman (MoDem), during the committee debates.

→ IN 2019. The National Assembly wants new working rules

The new Assembly rules will therefore allow remote voting on an entire text and government statements. However, he will not allow it on amendments or articles. Welcoming this necessary “Organizational stewardship”, the president of the PS group Valérie Rabault however regretted “The absence of a concrete solution” for the remote vote on amendments.

A review of decisions every two weeks

In case of “Exceptional circumstances likely to significantly affect the conditions of participation, deliberation or voting”, the modalities of participation of deputies in committee meetings and in public session may be adapted “Temporarily”. It is the Conference of Presidents of the Assembly – bringing together all the group and committee presidents around Richard Ferrand (LREM) – which can decide, by a simple majority of its members.

This point was criticized by the boss of the Communist deputies, André Chassaigne, wishing instead a qualified majority or a right of veto for each group president. It’s not sure “Our mode of crisis” that need “To derogate from the majority fact which founds our institution”, argued on the contrary Sylvain Waserman. This is why a “Review clause” was added to the text, at the request of several groups, to comment, ” every fifteen days “, on maintaining or modifying the decisions taken.

The rules of the Assembly thus modified must be validated by the Constitutional Council. In July 2019, the “Sages” had validated a reform of the regulations, with reservations of interpretation on the limitation of speaking time of deputies. This subject had provoked the anger of the oppositions and their boycott of the debates.

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