VOTE: The National Assembly went against the advice of the government, which wanted an extension of the State of Health Emergency until mid-February
While there were not enough LREM deputies in session on Tuesday night, the opposition managed to get the National Assembly to vote on an extension of the state of health emergency until December 14th only, against the opinion of the government that wanted it until mid-February.
“The end of the year celebrations are a privileged moment” and “everything should be done to allow the French to meet with their families” despite the coronavirus epidemic , pleaded Josiane Corneloup (LR) in a new reading of the prorogation bill, pushing for this “situation before the Christmas holidays”.
Disagree on the date
Other political groups had asked for such a review clause earlier in December or in January, judging February 16 too far away. “Nobody agrees” with this date, underlined Cécile Untermaier (PS). No question of putting democratic life “undercover” for so long, added Pascal Brindeau (UDI).
But “the government wishes to register the date of February 16th” because “we are in a crisis situation, the French understand that to act, we need visibility”, had previously declared the Deputy Minister Brigitte Bouguignon. The extension of this exceptional regime until mid-February, ie for three months, is “at the same time necessary, adapted and proportionate” to the health situation, added the rapporteur Jean-Pierre Pont (LREM). The state of health emergency makes it possible to limit movements or confine the population.
But the majority found itself in the minority when the vote was taken, and Josiane Corneloup’s amendment was adopted by a show of hands. Sitting suspensions and heckling followed. “The majority is unable to be gathered on a text on the emergency at 9 pm”, lambasted Philippe Gosselin (LR) while Emmanuelle Ménard, close to the RN, launched to the LREM: “You want full powers but you do not assume. ”
Another complicated vote ensued: an amendment by Paul Molac (Freedoms and Territories) was adopted against the government’s opinion. It provides that the confinement decreed by the executive from October 30 can only be renewed beyond November 30 after the agreement of Parliament. The LREM group then requested a new suspension of the meeting, to check that the half-gauge of each group in the hemicycle was respected.
The Senate had already limited the extension of the state of emergency
The government has various means of reversing these contentious votes before the final adoption of the bill, scheduled for Friday. Back at the Palais-Bourbon, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, shortly after asked for the “reserve of votes” on all the remaining amendments and articles, which postpones the ballots when the government chooses.
The Senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition, had last Friday limited the extension of the state of health emergency to January 31st.