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is the debate in the Assembly “locked” by the majority?

“Most of the amendments were aimed at raising the climate ambition of the text, (…) but many were ruled inadmissible”, deplores Meike Fink, in charge of climate transition within the Climate Action Network. During a press conference Thursday, March 25, all associations took stock (PDF) the passage of the Climate and Resilience Law in a special committee. “The debates were very locked”, describes Meike Fink. While the text is being discussed in the Hemicycle from Monday, March 29, Franceinfo analyzed the fate of the amendments tabled by the deputies during the examination of the text in a special committee.

LREM tabled a third of the amendments

In total, all parliamentary groups combined, some 5,392 amendments were tabled in a special committee. “It’s a pretty rare situation”, rejoices Alma Dufour, campaign manager at Friends of the Earth. In detail, La République en Marche proposed 1,828 amendments and Les Républicains 1,168.

When the membership is taken into account, the groups which tabled the most amendments per deputy are Libertés et Territoires, Socialistes et associés and non-attached deputies, including 10 of the former members of the Ecologie Démocratie Solidarité group.

However, it is difficult on the basis of these figures alone to conclude that one group was more involved than another in the examination of this text. “We must not hide our face, tabling an amendment and defending it is not the same thing”, would like to moderate Agathe Bounfour of the Climate Action Network.

A quarter of these proposals were deemed inadmissible

Before being able to be debated by the deputies, the amendments must pass a first filter: that of admissibility. During the examination of the Climate Bill in committee, 25.7% of them were deemed inadmissible, for various reasons, sometimes contested by their authors. “My amendment supporting nuclear energy is declared unrelated to the Climate Bill, and therefore inadmissible, regrets for example the Republican deputy Raphaël Schellenberger on Twitter. Thus, no debate will be possible on the role of nuclear power in preserving the climate. “

Article 98 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly states in particular that, “in accordance with article 45 of the Constitution”, any amendment must present “a link, even indirect, with the text deposited or transmitted”. An assessment left to the chairman of the committee, the deputy LREM Laurence Maillart-Méhaignerie in the case of the Climate law. Some of the amendments (5.4%) were also deemed inadmissible on the basis of another text: article 40 of the Constitution, which prohibits parliamentarians from making any amendment that would cause “a decrease in public resources”.

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This leaves a bitter taste to the deputy Delphine Batho, former Minister of Ecology and now president of Generation Ecology: “Consider that [certains] amendments (…) are ‘legislative riders’, that is to say they are irrelevant to the subject of the bill, it is … astounding “, she denounced in Paris Match.

“The government and the majority are hiding behind the screen of article 45 of the Constitution to prevent proposals of the Citizens’ Convention from being submitted for debate.”

Delphine Batho

in “Paris Match”

And the elected to conclude:If, once the proposal is brought up for debate, the government and the majority are against it, let them assume! But there, the debate will not take place. “

Laurence Maillart-Méhaignerie, for her part, defends herself from having sought to block the debate. “It is a trial of intent that has been made, she assures in an interview with Echos. It is also a bad interpretation (…) because article 45 of the Constitution obviously does not aim to restrict the right of amendment of the deputies. It applies equally to all laws. “

It’s more than for other legal texts

Does the rule apply to “all legal texts” ? “25% of inadmissible amendments is more than the average for this mandate”, Meike Fink retorts. According to our calculations, since the start of the legislature, all texts combined, 102,770 amendments have been tabled in committee and 13,813 have been deemed inadmissible. Or 13.4%. However, “Control [des ‘cavaliers législatifs’] has been strengthened since the last reform of the regulations of the National Assembly in 2019 “, argues the Palais Bourbon. The rate, since this new regulation, is 15.7%.

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By way of comparison, 9.7% of the amendments tabled in committee during the examination of the bill establishing a universal pension system were deemed inadmissible. Regarding the special committee responsible for examining the bill on bioethics, 8.3% of the 3,972 amendments were deemed inadmissible.

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