After the sling of MoDem elected officials, the National Assembly finally adopted, after a second vote, the bill for the gradual exit from the state of health emergency, which includes the establishment of a health pass.
On the night of May 11 to 12, the National Assembly finally adopted the health pass by 208 votes to 85, after a hectic day due to the revolt of the MoDem within the majority. The text voted on also includes the project for a gradual exit from the state of emergency, slightly modified.
The government was forced to revise article 1 of the text, without however modifying the provisions concerning the health pass. Thus rewritten, article 1 and the bill, voted by 208 votes to 85, were adopted at first reading. The Senate will seize it in session on May 18.
The government had to ask for a second deliberation, after, to everyone’s surprise, a majority of deputies (108 against 103) had voted on May 11 at the end of the day against the article of the bill which included in particular the establishment of the highly contested health pass. After this rejection, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced another vote.
A health pass that is too “vague”
Introduced by the government in committee, the health pass was at the heart of the tensions, even if the MoDem or LR groups are not opposed to its principle.
This tool must make access to large gatherings or certain places subject to the presentation of a negative virus screening result, or proof of vaccination, or even a certificate of recovery after contamination. For large gatherings requiring the pass, a 1,000-person gauge has been promised by the government, but without being written into stone in the law.
For the MoDem, the wording of this provision in article 1 was too “vague”. In unison with the oppositions, it demanded more details with regard to its perimeter and its application criteria (surface, density, exterior / interior, etc.). The publication of an interview with Parisian of the Prime Minister had not arranged anything: Jean Castex indeed announced that at the cinema or at the spectacle, “the rule will be 1 seat out of 3, with a ceiling of 800 people per room”.
The centrist group also hoped for a reopening of nightclubs in early July, with a health pass, but was not successful at this stage. The government contented itself with promising the sector a “review clause” in June.
The government’s attitude questioned by MoDem elected officials
In addition to the substance, the form of the debates particularly exasperated the deputies, who pointed out an attitude deemed casual or even contemptuous of the Minister of Health Olivier Véran and the Secretary of State for the digital transition Cédric O. “We had a absent rapporteur who was reading his files and two ministers at the bench who spent a lot of time on their laptops, ”criticized the Modem Bruno Millienne.
To the point that a parliamentary source quoted by AFP believes that the release of the centrist allies is not linked to a precise measurement of the text, but to an “accumulation of frustrations” of elected MoDem in the majority, while proposals that were important to them (such as the proportional to the legislative 2022) seem buried.
“The government is not deaf to the message sent by the national representation this afternoon,” however said the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, in a hubbub interrupted by successive suspensions. “There was no dialogue and listening [sur] the red lines [du texte]“, Lamented Philippe Latombe (MoDem). During these debates, “the majority was shattered”, thundered UDI deputy Pascal Brindeau, who estimated that “when one despises Parliament, even the most benevolent parliamentarians begin to rebel”.
Negotiations therefore took place on the evening of May 11 to “find an agreement” and “settle this problem”, as the Prime Minister had announced on France 2. Under pressure from centrist deputies, the government agreed to shorten the transition period during which restrictions on freedoms remain at its disposal in the face of the pandemic. This period will run from June 2 to the end of September, and not the end of October as initially planned. In addition to the transition period until the end of September, the bill allows the Prime Minister to continue to take curfew measures until June 30 inclusive, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. maximum. The deputies also re-established over a longer period the possibility of local confinements and a territorialized state of emergency during the summer, in the event of an epidemic outbreak, between July 10 and August 31.