The day after the National Assembly, the Senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition, overwhelmingly approved on Wednesday April 14 the maintenance in June of regional and departmental elections, with a delay of one week, while insisting on the measures that must secure the campaign and the holding of the poll.
At the end of a statement by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, who confirmed the dates of June 20 and 27 announced the day before in front of the deputies, the Senate gave its support to the choice of the government by 319 votes for and only 8 against , including 4 Les Républicains (LR). Ten LR senators also abstained. Faced with the Covid-19 epidemic, “What obsesses me is the protection of our fellow citizens, that’s all”, hammered Mr. Castex, in response to the criticisms which punctuated the debate.
“The doubt is therefore raised”, greeted the chairman of the law committee, François-Noël Buffet (LR), regretting, however, that “This doubt has lasted”. “June 13 and 20 seemed more suitable for reasons of mobilization”, he recalled. The one week shift “Give a little more time to the two campaigns, vaccination and electoral”, noted Vanina Paoli-Gagin (Independent).
“It’s not a joke”, said the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, but a delay ” necessary “ to ensure good organization despite the “Difficulties”, in the context of the health crisis. Mr. Buffet also said his “Pleasure” that the government has resumed ” almost all “ proposals from the commission to support the campaign and secure the holding of the ballot. Satisfaction shared by Jean-Claude Requier (RDSE, with a radical majority) for whom the measures announced by the Prime Minister “Are heading in a satisfactory direction, even though they do not provide absolute guarantees”.
Almost all of the speakers returned to the controversial mayors’ consultation this weekend: a “Express referendum (…) which cannot be assimilated to a consultation “, according to Cécile Cukierman (CRCE, majority communist), “Laudable initiative, but, for once, somewhat cavalier”, for the ecologist Guillaume Gontard. Jean-Louis Masson (not registered) blasted “A maneuver worthy of a Banana Republic”.
The prime minister ruled “Astonishing, precisely, that one can be astonished at such a consultation, insofar as the main effort and the responsibility for the organization of these two ballots will necessarily weigh on the mayors”.
Several senators have also mentioned ulterior motives that the executive would have had, while these elections promise to be difficult for the majority. “I have the weakness to think that at the highest summit of the State since June 13, 2020, we want the postponement of the territorial elections after the presidential elections”, launched the centrist Olivier Henno.
“The second step is to interfere with the start of the campaign by maintaining uncertainty”, added Eric Kerrouche (Socialist Party). “If democratic life must breathe, its breathing is Covid-type, panting and out of breath”, underlined for his part François Patriat (RDPI, majority En Marche!).