controversy surrounding the use of the premises of a religious ociation for the holding of the ballot in the Rhône

Turkish citizens living in France vote in the Turkish presidential and legislative elections, in Décines-Charpieu, a commune in the metropolis of Lyon, on April 29, 2023.

In full knowledge of the facts and in contradiction with the separatism law, did the Ministry of the Interior allow the vote to be held in the Turkish presidential election in France on the premises of a religious ociation? From April 27 to May 9, in Décines-Charpieu, a town in the metropolis of Lyon, Turkish voters from the Rhône were able to vote in the first round of voting in premises made available by the Ditib, acronym for “Turkish Union -Islamic Religious Affairs in France”, a federation of mosques directly attached to the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

Revealed on the website of Pointthis choice aroused the indignation of elected officials but the matter remained at a local level. However, according to information from the World, the Ministry of the Interior was informed at the end of April, and without opposing it, of the illegal nature of the holding of this election. Article 84 of the law of August 24, 2021 confirming respect for the principles of the Republic, known as “separatism law”one of the flagship texts adopted on the initiative of the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin and Marlène Schiappa, at the time Minister Delegate in charge of Citizenship, nevertheless modified the law on secularism of 1905 by formally prohibiting “to hold political meetings in the premises usually used for the exercise of worship or in their outbuildings which constitute an inseparable accessory”. A crime theoretically punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 euros.

The Décines polling station is one of the nine polling stations planned in France for Turkish voters, open to 80,000 voters residing in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Formerly located in the premises of the Turkish consulate in Lyon, in the 6e district of the city, the polling station was transferred to Décines, in a room of the ociation Ditib, located a few meters from the mosque established in an industrial zone.

For the representatives of the Turkish government in Lyon, this new voting site has the advantage of more easily welcoming voters who come by bus or car. And it would be perfectly regular, because independent of the nearby mosque and belonging to an ociation registered under the 1901 law, with no religious destination – an argument taken up by the Rhône prefecture, contacted by The world.

“Serious organizational problems”

“The distinction between the mosque and the adjoining shed is quite artificial, everything is located on the same cadastral tenement”, considers on the contrary Laurence Fautra, mayor (Les Républicains, LR) of Décines. In addition to the religious connotation of the place, the chosen one raises “serious organizational problems” : “Vehicles park on sidewalks and business spaces, the place is not suitable at all. » The municipal police drew up 200 reports for non-compliance with parking during the election period, according to the mayor who claims to have “questioned the prefecture” on this subject.

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