2:24 p.m. April 14, 2022
D-10 before the second round of the presidential election. The two finalists try to impress with concrete measures that have an immediate impact on public opinion. Marine Le Pen has put forward her idea of a popular initiative on all issues, including the death penalty, over the past few days.
If elected, Marine Le Pen wants to use the referendum to give the French a chance to express themselves. Among the subjects the death penalty. “The issue of the death penalty could go through a referendum, everything could go through a referendum,” confirmed the RN candidate.
No debate is forbidden in popular initiatives
The RN candidate spoke out against the death penalty. She justifies her position by saying that she will bring no benefit and that her reform of real life will be enough. But she leaves open the possibility of reintroducing the death penalty if elected, since no debate is forbidden in these referendums.
The abolition of the death penalty has so far had a very broad consensus in the political class and is therefore the reason for the controversy. This is a break with the consensus on the subject. Other questions arise around these referendums of the popular initiative.
Risk of institutional imbalance
This opens the door for government troubles. For example, if citizens oppose a reform, which is regularly the case, the conditions that they have set today for the implementation of a referendum are very low with only 500,000 voters.
Even if it wants to specify the procedures for collecting signatures and have a geographical spread of signers, this could have negative implications, especially if a minimum turnout is not required to validate the ballot. It would then be a minority that could control the outcome. Finally, there is a risk of institutional imbalance and a weakening of the powers of the President of the Republic. Today he is the only one who can propose a referendum in agreement with Parliament.