“The constituent assembly, the only lifeline to get out of the crisis of the regime”

On the evening of April 10, the democratic crisis took the step that separated it from the crisis of the regime. Until that date, it was assumed that the French still had a political perspective in the presidential election. Of course, they doubted it, but the “normal” functioning of the institutions, in such abnormal times, kept them in spite of them in this strange expectation. At the end of the first round, when it was established that, having eliminated the left, the country was moving either towards an acceleration of the authoritarian transformation of the republican institutions, or, more likely, towards a “decennialism” of de facto the current tenant of the Elysée, without campaign or debate, there was no longer a cache-misery large enough to hide from public view the terrible reality of our political “life.”

On April 24, the veil was finally broken completely: the presidential election had in many respects been a non-event; democracy could wait. Since then, no one in their right mind has argued that there is ” something rotten in the realm of republican monarchs, but no consensus has been reached on how to remedy it. Avoiding too definitive answers, here we will only try to see things more clearly, asking three questions.

“The crisis we are going through is protein: economic, social, ecological, demographic, cultural … but it is just as institutional. »

First question: is the current situation due to the political staff, or to the constitutional regime as such?

In the 19th century, Chateaubriand wrote: Respect the institutions, and answer to the head for a future of centuries »; then, in the face of the disintegration of the restored monarchy: There is no longer a hand virtuous enough to cure scrofula Two hundred years later, some still profess this idea that it is the mediocrity of individuals that harms institutions … and expect a new De Gaulle. They also wonder why we abolished both royalty and society. orders, instead of just waiting for a new Henry IV?

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Jokes aside: there is, without a doubt, a moral problem at the heart of our society; essentially a problem of political education, especially since the disappearance of the old republican culture of a generation revitalized by the experience of the Resistance, which had left us the great democratic and social successes of the postwar period. But was there no part of the Gaullist regime? In ” centrifuge Didn’t the public debate around the president, De Gaulle, contribute in the first place to creating the current situation? In 1964, Mitterrand denounced a ” permanent coup “which would have the effect of” to make impossible the gathering of popular forces and to empty of its substance a republic that the town is accustomed to not know, nor to love. “It’s strange that half a century later, to plagiarize Zola, we come to this.” surprising crisis, which put power in the hands of a man to whom, the day before, none of his fellow-citizens would have lent a hundred francs. »?

Certainly, the crisis we are going through is protein: economic, social, ecological, demographic, cultural … but it is also institutional. In fact, the institutions of the Fifth, characterized by the election of the President of the Republic by direct universal suffrage and the election of deputies by a two-member uninominal majority, act as a distorting mirror. And for good reason: these were not intended to show a true image of society, to promote the diversity of opinion and deliberation, but to legitimize the Head of State before the people and give him the largest possible majority. . If on June 12 and 19 the hitherto well-oiled machinery of the legislative elections once again reproduced this democratic incongruity, Macron, elected in the first round of the presidential election by only one-fifth of voters, could theoretically continue doing the same. please please.

Perhaps then a majority of the electorate would be rejected in the various forms of opposition or civic secession that have developed or strengthened in recent years. After an initial five-year term marked by an unprecedented outburst of anger, it is hard to believe that the situation will be sustainable for much longer.

The sections of the National Assembly have just over 2% of employees, and less than 0.5% of workers, when these socio-professional categories “represent” respectively 26 and 19% of the active population. »

Second question, that of the nature and dimension of the changes to be implemented to rediscover the paths of democracy: reform? revolution?

We remember the bad content and especially the fate of the institutional reform promised by Macron at the beginning of his term, first filed after the Benalla affair, then fully approved in vertical classification, with a false pretext. Shaken to its foundations by the results of the presidential elections, first and second round, the palace would now agree to consider more structuring agreements, such as: full proportional representation; the return to the seven-year term; more frequent consultations with the population, etc. However, these fragile perspectives do not respond to the extraordinary challenges they pose to us, nor to the aspirations expressed by the population in recent years. Undoubtedly, the crisis situation we are in requires a total overhaul, and a commitment from the whole of society in this overhaul, therefore constituent.

I raise two crucial issues here that cannot be resolved by either organic or Article 89 law.

First, the representation. The main concern that must move us in these crucial hours is not whether the ballot boxes can produce a majority; or though “opinions,” these ideas seem to have fallen from the sky, are “represented” among the deputies; but if society as such is only present in the institutions. On this chapter, the observation can be made quickly: the sections of the National Assembly have just over 2% of employees, and less than 0.5% of workers, when these socio-professional categories “represent” respectively the 26 and 19% of the active population, that is, almost half of the active forces in the country. To agree that this state of affairs, the product of a very old conception according to which some are born to govern, others to be governed, is not regulated by the mechanism of election, the keystone of our “democracy necessarily carries to the question of drawing the appointment of the members of the deliberative assemblies, and this could only be decided by a constituent assembly.

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Second, the architecture of powers. That is to say: the preponderance, the same arrogance of the Head of State in a “republic” where so many things are in the hands of a single person, far from the public debate, the collective decision-making, the intervention and popular control. At a time when presidentialism has already done so much harm and now the “supreme office” is being sought, with real chances of success, by fascist adventurers, downplaying the role of the president, backtracking on his election by universal suffrage. direct, or. even to abolish purely and simply this office invented in 1848 by a very ill-inspired – conservative – assembly is a bet on life or death for the Republic. And that too could only be decided by one voter.

“If the legislature led to a result in accordance with the spirit of the 5th, a composite but coherent presidential majority; the opposition polarized around him; then the impasse would be complete. »

Third question that every citizen has the right to ask himself, at the point where we are in the decomposition of our political society: will the seemingly necessary changes whose contours we have identified be able to intervene through the normal game of institutions?

As everyone knows, just over 400,000 votes were lost from the exciting prospect of the electorate, led by Mélenchon for three presidential elections, to approve the first round. From now on, the leader of the Popular Union is campaigning for a “third round” of legislation, portraying a story that is at least daring, but which is also a bold way to challenge the Gaullist regime in which any organization that participates in the elections are necessarily heartbroken, by restoring an appearance of coherence to what was previously considered a substitute for the presidential election, and the Parliament that will emerge. In your bag, and as a condition sine qua non of his agreement with the rest of the left parties, he put the VI Republic. If, contrary to the logic of the Fifth, this electoral bet is successful, the path of the constituent assembly would be opened, excessively narrow, and could lead to a great institutional crisis, but it is too premature to imagine such a hypothesis. . If not, if the legislature led to a result in line with the spirit of the V, the “low empire” version: a composite but consistent presidential majority; oppositions polarized around him; then the impasse would be complete.

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In any case, in all the places where democracy can live or be reborn, where the people can be heard, the constituent slogan is the only line of life of a republic in a few days as a regime capable of arousing support and hope. .

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