Senators, a majority of whom belong to the right-wing opposition, are rubbing their hands: they believe they have beaten the knucklebones of MPs since the ritual question and answer session to the government on Wednesday came back to them on this strategic day.
At the end of the Council of Ministers, the members of the government have taken, since the beginning of October, no longer the path of the Assembly dominated by LREM, but that of the Palais du Luxembourg, where they slalom on the red carpet between groups of visitors and cameras, before settling in the meeting room, for the kick-off at 3:00 p.m.
"Wednesday puts us at the center of the news", welcomes, "buzz and tweets" in support, President Gérard Larcher (LR), not dissatisfied after years of "QAG" senatorial swallowed in the background, alternatively Tuesday or Thursday.
For the Senate, which wants to mark its territory in front of a predominant Assembly, "the timing is much more interesting", opines Claude Malhuret, president of the group Les Indépendants.
Wednesday "allows to be hot, reactive to the news" and announcements of the Council of Ministers which the government does the after-sales service, adds François Patriat, boss of senators LREM.
Small "flat" however: "15 questions in a row is a bit much," said Claude Malhuret. The session lasts about an hour and a quarter. François Patriat would prefer only one question per political group, with "a substantive answer".
The deputies learned, them, to be satisfied with only one session of “QAG”, of two hours, Tuesday, whereas there were since 1995 two sequences of one hour, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
He also wanted to make "more alive" and less "theatrical" these "QAG" established in 1974 as part of the role of "control" of government by Parliament, alongside the passing of the law.
Often heckled, these sessions, broadcast on LCP, are regularly pinned to give an unfavorable image of national representation.
The number of questions granted to oppositions has increased since October. As was already the case in the Senate, a "right of reply" from the deputy and a "counter-reply" from the government was introduced and is slowly becoming a standard.
- "Basement bedroom" -
But the deputies, even in the majority, find themselves that these two hours are "long, even too long". "Legs in the chin, colleagues hang up, and ministers yawn or go out," said an elected official.
"It is a weakening of the Parliament for the benefit of the government. At 4:00 pm it is finished, the second hour has zero impact", fumes a group leader.
What matters, estimates the Minister of Relations with the Parliament Marc Fesneau on LCP, it is "to have the capacity of a true democratic debate and which can interest the fellow-citizens in the public thing".
This new version of the QAG also has collateral effects: deputies leave the Assembly for their constituency on Wednesday morning.
"The Assembly takes on a cloak of media invisibility on Wednesday, we have become almost non-existent: we are the room in the basement", deplores the deputy Philippe Gosselin (LR).
Richard Ferrand, who prefers that the Assembly gives the "la" on Tuesday, has just made a progress report with the presidents of the groups, from which it appears that the TV audiences have not decreased, even if they weaken at the end of two hours of exercise.
No immediate change: no one wants to give up some of their questions to the government. The perch holder, however, asked for more "attendance" from MPs over the two hours, according to one participant.
What about a possible backtracking? The Senate, which must also make an "assessment" in connection with Public Senate, "will not be stepped on, for sure," said a disillusioned MP.
© 2020 AFP