Petition rejected; the fight goes on
It has taken much longer than I anticipated to tend to some personal matters, and I am not even close to being at the end of it. For the next several weeks there will be delays, but by the end of March things should be back to "normal", except perhaps for income tax returns.
A quick reminder that there will be another big demonstration on March 24 against Christiane Taubira's law legalizing gay marriage and adoption. On February 26, the Ethics Committee known as the CESE rejected a citizens' petition of 700,000 signatures requesting that the council issue an opinion on the law. This rejection though anticipated still came as a shock, since it showed that for the CESE, democratic process means nothing.
UMP deputy Hervé Mariton urges the dissolution of the CESE:
(…) This decision of the CESE is an error with regard to democratic process. The petitioners had succeeded in doing something that no one thought possible: they collected, in record time, more than 500,000 signatures.
Note: Five hundred thousand is the required minimum. Actually they collected over 700,000 signatures.
These thousands of citizens showed how much they believed in the strength of democracy. At a time when mistrust of institutions is great among the French people it would have been one way of showing that direct democracy can reduce the rupture between the people and the leaders. The CESE could have affirmed its independence and shown, to all those who have doubts, its usefulness in the public debate. It wasted this opportunity. I share in the disappointment of these hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen, confronted with what seems to be an incomprehensible denial of democracy, in the same vein as the refusal of François Hollande to hold a referendum on marriage, despite the wishes of a majority of the people. But, so long as the law on marriage and adoption is not adopted, the fight goes on! The question, that I have raised several times before, is this: what is the purpose of the CESE? Should it not be abolished?
From Le Salon Beige
The matter of this petition is not over. An appeal has been filed with the Conseil d'Etat (Council of State), "a body that acts both as legal advisor of the executive branch and as supreme court for administrative justice." One important factor is that on February 15, Jean-Paul Delevoye, president of the CESE requested instructions from Prime Minister Ayrault , which apparently resulted in the CESE's decision to reject the petition, on grounds that only the prime minister can request an opinion from the CESE on matters relating to a bill before the National Assembly. This means that the "citizens' petition" is useless. But it may mean that the CESE acted unconstitutionally.
The last word has not been said.
Below, Jean-Paul Delevoye and Prime Minister Ayrault from Le Figaro.