France: the moment of truth for the immigration bill in the Assembly

A text strongly hardened by the right in the Senate will be examined all this week by the deputies of the Law Commission of the National Assembly, before arriving in the hemicycle on 11 December. This is a high-risk test for French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who hopes to find a majority in parliament to avoid a new use of 49.3 if possible.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin during a question-and-answer session with the government at the National Assembly in Paris on November 21, 2023. AFP - MIGUEL MEDINA

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This week, we played politics. This is how Gérald Darmanin congratulated himself on having found a majority in the Senate only two weeks ago, leaving the field open to the right to completely rework the government's text and make it lean very clearly on the repressive side.

And it is this copy that arrives in the Assembly, where the game promises to be closer for the government, because the balance of power is not at all the same. The line is set to be narrow for the Minister of the Interior, who is forced to find a compromise if he wants to pass his bill without having a majority and without resorting to 49.3.

Increasing the number of one-on-one meetings with the deputies, "even if it meant having two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners a day", according to his entourage, Gérald Darmanin continued to play politics in the Assembly.

Is this a first effect? Taking the opposite view of their leaders, 17 Les Républicains deputies said on Sunday that they were ready to vote for the text, provided that it remained close to the version adopted in the Senate.

There is therefore no question of the deputies of the presidential camp returning to the government's text by "unravelling" that of the senators in committee. While they are still opposed to the abolition of state medical aid, a compromise seems possible on regularisation in occupations in shortage, the principle of which would be reintroduced into the law, but with a right of veto granted to prefects.

Read alsoGérald Darmanin's immigration bill in the Senate: testimonies

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