Michel Debré, September 15, 1958, explains the role of the President of the Republic vis-à-vis Parliament.
POLICY – “The only sovereignty is the people and the President of the Republic calls on them in the event of a conflict. » This sentence by Michel Debré, pronounced in September 1958 to explain the draft Constitution to the French, resonates softly in the ears of opponents of Emmanuel Macron after the use of 49.3 on the pension reform.
Thirteen days before the referendum to approve the draft Constitution, its designer is questioned about relations between the President of the Republic, endowed with new powers, and Parliament. Is there not a risk of recurring conflicts between the two and how should they be settled, questions the journalist in substance in this extract unearthed by Ina on Friday March 17, the day of the announcement of two motions of censorship against Elisabeth Borne.
POLICY. What must the President of the Republic do in the event of a conflict between Parliament and the Government? 🤔…
— INA.fr (@Inafr_officiel)
The Minister of Justice begins by reassuring about the conflicting dimension of certain discussions, proof of the proper functioning of the regime. “The essence of democracy is conflict. There is no conflict in a dictatorship or at least the conflicts are not apparent and end in blood”he argues.
Before pouring out more precisely on the definition in the text of the presidential function. “The role of the President of the Republic is to settle conflicts between the government and Parliament. And it regulates them, not so much by its own powers of decision, but by the fact that it requests the decision of the Constitutional Council or that it requests the decision by referendum or by dissolution. »
“The only sovereignty is the people”
Michel Debré very specifically takes the example of a Prime Minister chosen by the President of the Republic but disapproved by the national representation during the vote of confidence. “There is only one way to settle the conflict (…): it is to give the floor to the people by way of dissolution”, he explains, refuting the idea that “national sovereignty is given to an assembly”.
“In reality, there is no sovereign assembly. The only sovereignty is the people and the President of the Republic calls on them in the event of a conflict. There is no more democratic and more liberal method if one wants to remain in a regime of freedom.he finishes.
Sixty-five years after the birth of a Fifth Republic that is said to be out of breath, this deciphering of the “Father of the Constitution” hit the bull’s eye with opponents of Emmanuel Macron. Because three months after its presentation by the Prime Minister, the pension reform is largely rejected by a majority of French people, as shown by the latest YouGov opinion poll for Le HuffPost carried out at the beginning of March (71% against). As for the Parliament, it is divided. If the Senate with a majority on the right voted for, the National Assembly did not decide on the text precisely because the government feared being put in a minority.
In this context, the excerpt published by Ina on Friday evening had accumulated around 500,000 views at the time of writing these lines. Relayed by a few deputies, Antoine Léaument (LFI), Franck Allisio (RN), Jérémie Iordanoff (EELV) or the mayor LR Gilles Platret, it is also very shared by Internet users without political responsibility: “Exceptional”, ” tasty “, “the INA that regales”write these anonymous people on Twitter.
Hello @EmmanuelMacron, can you listen please? ⤵️
— Antoine Léaument 🇫🇷 (@ALeaument)
It was without counting that Elisabeth Borne would not submit to the vote of confidence (although provided for in article 49 a…
— Jérémie Iordanoff (@iordanoff)
Michel Debré, one of the fathers of our Constitution: in the event of a conflict between parliament and the government, the solution…
— Franck Allisio (@franckallisio)
“The only sovereignty is that of the people and the President of the Republic calls on him in the event of a conflict.…
— Gilles PLATRET (@gillesplatret)
The INA that regales.
— Alb (@_____Alb_____)
In the current context, it is tasty to hear “the father of the (current) Constitution” on these questions (badly…
— François Berdougo 🦄🐻✌️ (@FBerdougo)
Several initiatives have been launched by opposition politicians in reaction to 49.3. Two motions of censure were tabled at the Palais Bourbon, but above all, a referendum of shared initiative to consult the population directly was initiated by the parliamentary left. The procedure now has the support of trade unionists … and the post-mortem blessing of Michel Debré.
See also on Le HuffPost :