Senate (Illustration) -

A. GELEBART / 20 MINUTES

The Senate, politically dominated by the right-wing opposition, adopted on Monday at first reading the bill on "separatism" after having clearly toughened it, with measures against the wearing of the veil, or strengthening the "neutrality" to the university.

And under criticism from the left.

Renamed a bill “consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic and the fight against separatism”, it was voted by 208 votes in favor and 109 against.

The government wants to be between "excess" and "naivety"

Deputies and senators will now try to find an agreement on a common text in a joint joint committee (CMP).

In the event of failure, a new reading will be organized in each of the chambers, the National Assembly having in the end the last word.

Defending a "central" position of the government, between "excess" and "naivety", the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin has already warned that the government could not accept a text "which will provide for non-religious expression. in the public space ”.

The majority RDPI group En Marche abstained.

Wanted as a "marker" of the five-year Macron term, the bill provides for measures on the neutrality of the public service, the reinforced control of associations, better transparency of all religions and their funding, home education, or the fight against virginity certificates or polygamy.

"Strengthen" the text against radical Islamism

But for the leader of senators LR Bruno Retailleau, it was in its version voted by the deputies in February, "a text for nothing".

The senatorial majority therefore worked to "toughen it up" against radical Islamism, while relaxing the provisions on family education (IEF).

Max Brisson (LR) praised a “more robust” text.

But on the left Marie-Pierre de La Gontrie (PS) lamented that the right had decided to transform it "into an electoral leaflet", while the leader of environmentalists Guillaume Gontard castigated "a completely uninhibited drift".

"Aggravated" by the senatorial right, "it divides, it weakens and stigmatizes to such an extent that it separates", again accused the president of the predominantly communist CRCE group Eliane Assassi.

Concerning the IEF, the senators opposed the authorization regime that the government wishes to put in place, with in view the school “separatism” of radical Islamists and other sectarian aberrations.

Castigating "generalized suspicion", the senatorial majority wanted to maintain the current system of simple declaration.

Suspension of benefits if absenteeism

Against the advice of the government, and despite opposition from the left of the hemicycle, the Senate declined a series of new measures aimed at prohibiting the wearing of the veil - or any other conspicuous religious sign - for parents accompanying outings schools and during national sports competitions, for minors in public spaces, as well as the burkini at the swimming pool.

For the university, the Senate has planned to prohibit the practice of worship within the confines of public higher education establishments.

In the line of sight: “prayers in inappropriate places”, such as “corridors”.

Also voted on, the possibility of suspending family allowances to fight against school absenteeism.

Some on the right would have liked to go even further, proposing, for example, but without success, to ban the veil at the university or to impose that sermons be pronounced in French.

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