Lhe referendum on immigration will not take place. This in no way prevents Emmanuel Macron from pretending to take this flagship promise of the far right seriously. While ensuring that the bill on the same subject, overdue for more than a year, will be debated in the fall, the President of the Republic, in his letter addressed to the leaders of political parties after the “Saint-Denis meetings”affirm that “the question of immigration (…) will be processed (…) through the question of the referendum and possible changes to the Constitution (…) ». Demands put forward by the leaders Les Républicains (LR) and Remblement national (RN), to whom Mr. Macron “ offers to make a proposal (…) in the coming weeks ».
The apparent openness of the head of state to a modification of the Constitution to allow a referendum on immigration was little noted. Such a perspective would be “quick to stir up tensions”noted Marine Tondelier, the leader of the Greens, while François Bayrou warned against “the questions that unleash pions”.
At first glance, the affair seems like a pure political tactic. While he seeks to negotiate a compromise with the right on his bogged-down bill on immigration, the President of the Republic pretends to be interested in her demand for a referendum to, ultimately, trap her by demonstrating his impossibility. Immigration, a subject excluded from the scope of Article 11 of the Constitution on referendums, could only be introduced through a revision of the Basic Law. Mission almost impossible, since the revision project would have to be voted on in identical terms by the Senate, dominated by the right, and the National embly, where the executive does not have a majority. Such a revision is therefore no more feasible than those which aim to include climate protection or the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy in the Constitution, promised in vain by the Head of State.
Mr. Macron is not, far from it, the first President of the Republic to stir up disputes over immigration to divide his adversaries. François Mitterrand has continued to wave the red flag of foreigners voting in local elections to excite the National Front and weaken the right. Nicolas Sarkozy ped in a few months from“selected immigration” to the“national identity” in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. Moreover, would we have ped twenty-nine laws on immigration since 1980 if the subject was not conducive to posturing and political manipulation? As for the referendum, it was used to break political deadlocks throughout the Ve Republic.
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