Victor Chabert 1:36 p.m., April 14, 2022

D-10 before the second round of the presidential election.

The two finalists are trying to make an impression with concrete measures that immediately imprint on public opinion.

For the past few days, Marine Le Pen has been putting forward her idea of ​​setting up a popular initiative referendum on all subjects, including the death penalty. 

If elected, Marine Le Pen would like to use the referendum to allow the French to express themselves.

Among the subjects, the death penalty.

"The question of the death penalty could go through a referendum, everything could go through a referendum," confirmed the RN candidate. 

No debate is forbidden with popular initiative referendums

The RN candidate declared herself against the death penalty.

She justifies her position by saying that it will not be useful and that her real life reform will suffice.

But she leaves the possibility of reintroducing the death penalty if she is elected, given that no debate debate is prohibited with her referendums of popular initiative.

The abrogation of the death penalty had hitherto had a very broad consensus in the political class and that is therefore what is creating the controversy.

This is a break with the consensus on the subject.

Other questions arise around these referendums of popular initiative.

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Risk of institutional imbalance

This opens the door to government difficulties.

If citizens oppose a reform, for example, which is regularly the case, the conditions it has set today for the implementation of a popular initiative referendum are very low with only 500,000 voters.

Even if it wants to frame the procedures for collecting signatures and have a geographical distribution of signatories, this could have negative effects, especially if no minimum turnout is required to validate the ballot.

It would then be a minority that would have control over its outcome.

Finally, there is the risk of an institutional imbalance and a weakening of the powers of the President of the Republic.

He is the only one today who can propose a referendum in agreement with Parliament.