Groups, presidency of the Assembly, committees…: parliamentary lexicon | EUROtoday

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Paris, France July 8, 2024 - Illustrations of the empty National Assembly chamber.

The outcomes of the early legislative elections resulted in an unprecedented composition of the National Assembly, divided into three blocs of comparable dimension, every removed from absolutely the majority set at 289 seats: the New Popular Front (182 deputies), the presidential coalition (168) and the National Rally (RN) and its allies (143).

The functioning of the chamber is questioned, bringing to the fore a collection of phrases. Parliamentary teams, coalitions, oppositions, presidency of the Assembly, commissions and even technical authorities… The world make the purpose.

Presidency of the Assembly

The 17e legislature will start on Thursday, July 18. The first session of the National Assembly will, as custom dictates, be chaired by the oldest member of the chamber, on this case José Gonzalez, 81 years outdated, re-elected National Rally MP within the tenth constituency of Bouches-du-Rhône. He will arrange a secret poll on the podium to nominate the President of the National Assembly who will succeed Yaël Braun-Pivet. All MPs can stand for election. This is a three-round election.

To be elected within the first or second spherical, one of many presidential candidates should get hold of an absolute majority of the votes solid. If this isn’t the case, which is uncommon, a 3rd spherical is held and this time a relative majority is sufficient to entry the perch. In the occasion of a tie, the oldest individual will get hold of the presidency.

“Usually the majority group wins, but the votes are so close that alliances of convenience can emerge,” says lecturer in public legislation Thibaud Mulier. As issues stand, Didier Maus, former State Councilor and professional in public administration and constitutional legislation, believes that “is unlikely that [le président de l’Assemblée nationale] be elected in the first two rounds.” He adds : “I don't see who may obtain unanimity, however everybody should attempt to discover essentially the most consensual candidate in order that he will get votes outdoors his political household.”

The President of the Assembly plays a vital role both in the functioning of the institution – he or she chairs the Conference of Presidents, which sets the agenda for the work each week, as well as the Bureau, which regulates the organisation and internal functioning of the Assembly – and also outside it. For example, he or she has a representative role, in France and abroad.

Parliamentary groups and coalition

July 18, opening day of the 17e legislature, the formation of parliamentary groups must be made official by submitting a political declaration to the presidency. To be able to form a group, at least fifteen deputies are required.

“Most typically, membership is predicated on the elected consultant's political affiliation, however some teams convey collectively parliamentarians from completely different events (for instance, if the variety of elected representatives shouldn’t be ample for these events to type an autonomous group)”, explains the Assembly website. This was the case of the Democratic and Republican Left group, during the previous legislature, which brought together communist elected officials and overseas deputies.

The group organization allows for influence in the Assembly. For example, speaking time during the examination of a text is allocated according to the weight of each group. Places in the committees (see below) are also distributed proportionally to the number of deputies in each group.

If an MP does not wish or cannot join a group, he or she is non-registered and therefore has fewer rights.

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Another challenge arises at the end of these legislative elections. Since no group has obtained an absolute majority, the game of alliances will be more important than ever. “There will definitely be negotiations to type new blocs of parliamentary teams,” estimates Thibaud Mulier. It will then be a question of coalition.

Groups must declare themselves to be in the majority (for the one with the most deputies), opposition or minority. The latter are “smaller majority teams or teams which are neither within the opposition nor within the majority”explains the National Assembly website. Opposition and minority groups have specific rights. For example, they “benefit from one day per month reserved for an agenda set by them”details the Assembly.

Read additionally | Why is the RN, which claims nearly all of votes after the legislative elections, solely the third political drive within the Assembly?

Absolute and relative majority

A group (and possibly its allies) has an absolute majority when it reaches 289 deputies – that is, half plus one of the 577 elected representatives. When a bloc is larger in number than the others without having 289 deputies, we speak of a relative majority.

This was the case during the previous legislature, but the presidential camp (Renaissance, MoDem, Horizons) was much larger in number than the New Popular Front, which came out on top in the legislative elections: 250 deputies for the former in 2022, 182 for the latter this year. As things stand, “the dangers of blockage usually are not negligible”notes Thibaud Mulier, lecturer in public law.

Commissions

Once the presidency has been elected, the Chamber will have to appoint the members of the eight permanent committees that make up the National Assembly: cultural affairs and education, economic affairs, foreign affairs, social affairs, national defense and armed forces, sustainable development and regional planning, finance and finally laws. The parliamentary groups “are represented within the standing committees in proportion to the overall variety of seats they maintain”, explains the institution's website. Their compositions must be representative of the diversity of the chamber.

Didier Maus, former State Councilor, points out that these are positions at “huge stakes” since the committees carry out, among other things, amendments, i.e. the modification of legislative texts.

Read additionally | Article reserved for our subscribers Political uncertainty after legislative elections threatens progress

Current affairs

Gabriel Attal was kept at the head of the government on Monday, July 8. His government therefore remains, on paper, in full force; it is to be distinguished in this from a resigning government which can only expedite current affairs. This regime was not chosen, perhaps because this operation ” diminished [le] scope of motion to the strict minimal: the federal government should then restrict itself to a really modest function, to the administration of the each day grind. But it can not take any important political measure, below penalty of seeing it annulled by the Council of State”explained Julien Boudon, professor of public law and specialist in the Constitution, in an interview with World.

However, it seems difficult, politically, for the Attal government to take important decisions while it remains in place, which does not prevent it from retaining “a big margin for managing the nation”notes Mr. Boudon, who points out that he “there may be an autonomous regulatory energy, which falls to the manager energy, with its personal set of decrees, orders, ordinances, circulars…”

Technical government

On Wednesday, Emmanuel Macron asked the “political forces” to build a “gathering around a few major principles for the country, clear and shared republican values”a prerequisite for him to appoint a prime minister. And if this “structuring” which he calls for was struggling to be put in place, due to the fragmentation of the Assembly? The head of state could opt for a technical government. This involves appointing ministers without political affiliation to ensure the continuity of public service.

Read additionally | Article reserved for our subscribers Emmanuel Macron's upkeep of the Attal authorities contested, on each the correct and the left

Unlike the resigning government, a technical government “has all constitutional powers”assures Thibaud Mulier, lecturer in public law. He therefore has the “authorized means” to implement reforms resulting from a consensus but at its own risk. Like any government, its responsibility can be engaged in the National Assembly and it can thus be overthrown if it seeks to pass a reform with too marked a political coloring.

France has never yet experimented with such an arrangement. Mr. Mulier notes, however, that in Italy or Belgium, technical governments have shown that “The extra time passes, the extra affect they’ve and the extra they achieve the higher hand.” on decision-making.

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