One week into parliamentary debates over French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed constitutional reforms, concerns are being raised over how the amendments will blur the separation of legislative and executive powers.
The most controversial of the proposed changes would allow the president of the Republic to participate in the debate that follows Congress, raising concerns he is encroaching on parliamentary territory.
Congress is a special gathering of the French Senate and the National Assembly and the only occasion when the president can address parliament.
Macron advocated for the change at the July 9 Congress at Versailles. The criticism has been swift and biting.
“This is tantamount to giving the role of prime minister to the president. I am against it,” said President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, warning that the revision would throw off the balance of the Fifth Republic.
Traditionally under the Fifth Republic, it has been the prime minister’s role to brief parliament on policies and decrees implemented by the government.
“If [the change] goes through, it will be the most symbolic of the 2018 constitutional reform,” constitutional scholar Didier Maus told FRANCE 24.