The National Assembly which sits on a Saturday with all the members present masked.
Normally, the scene would be doubly unusual.
Covid-19 pandemic requires, the deputies debate this weekend the extension of the state of health emergency, which the government intends to make last until February 16.
This is essential for the curfew to last more than four weeks in the areas concerned (54 departments since Saturday), Emmanuel Macron's wish being to maintain this “night confinement” for a minimum of six weeks.
This Saturday morning, article 1 of the bill which extends this exceptional regime was adopted, while the Minister of Health Olivier Véran had called for the opening of the debates for "national unity".
Despite everything, the debates were sometimes very lively, some elected officials from the left but also from the right accusing the government of "confining our freedoms".
"There were some small tensions but we are between responsible people", tempers the deputy Philippe Gosselin (The Republicans) to the Parisian.
The LR group had also filed a motion of censure, which was unsurprisingly rejected.
"We must not infantilize the French"
The state of health emergency notably allows the government to resort to confinement, described as an “atomic weapon” by the oppositions.
On Friday, Emmanuel Macron said it was "too early" to say whether such measures reminiscent of last spring would be taken, but without formally excluding anything.
"Is the government considering the use of localized or generalized containment or not?"
He must say it very clearly and we must not infantilize the French, who are very often worried.
The more transparent the government and the more dialogue there will be between the legislative and executive powers, the greater will be the acceptability of the measures by the population, ”says Philippe Gosselin, who, in the hemicycle this Saturday morning, saw himself reproach for being in "denial" by his opponent Pacôme Rupin (LREM).
"If we have put in place a curfew, it is not to annoy the French", assures @olivierveran, who adds that there is no "hidden plan". # DirectAN # COVID19 pic.twitter .com / AbFfF8zQZA
- LCP (@LCP) October 24, 2020
“So what did the government anticipate in six months?
", Asserted his side Sébastien Chenu (National Assembly), while Olivier Véran denied any" hidden plan "and repeatedly asked the oppositions" what are (their) proposals ".
Final vote expected in early November
Philippe Gosselin would also like a “review clause” to be put in place “mid-January”, especially since the post-state health emergency transitional regime should be extended until April 1.
“This transitional regime [which already allows many very strict restrictions to be taken, Editor's note] is almost the same as the state of health emergency.
There is deception on the merchandise, ”he grew angry.
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VIDEO. 38 additional departments under curfew from this weekend
38 additional departments under curfew from this weekend
The bill also provides for the possibility for the government to legislate by ordinance in several areas as well as the extension until April 1 of digital systems for collecting test results and contact persons.
The vote on the whole text could take place at the end of the day this Saturday.
It will be debated in the Senate on Wednesday, before final adoption in the National Assembly scheduled for early November.