When Marine Le Pen hits the constitutional wall

Legal arguments certainly weigh little in an election campaign, but if Marine Le Pen is elected to the presidency of the republic, she will have to reckon with it in the end. Especially since the point is crucial: the candidate for the National Assembly wants to justify a revision of the constitution as soon as she arrives at the Elysée “a national priority” and save “16 billion euros” on benefits to foreigners – according to our information, it is actually more like 6 billion. If she doesn’t succeed in getting her referendum through, there is a risk of a notorious hole in the budget. However, this referendum is obviously unconstitutional and, according to several legal experts, would be passed by force “Constitutional Putsch”.

Indeed, the referendum law on national primacy, which has already been drafted and promulgated, is grossly unconstitutional: it directly clashes with the 1789 Declaration of Human Rights, the preamble to the 1946 Constitution (the Constitutional Block portion of it), and contradicts at least six essential articles of our constitution. Marine Le Pen does not say the opposite and therefore wants to change the constitution.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Marine Le Pen wants to govern by referendum, bypassing Parliament and the Constitutional Council

It’s obviously possible. There were nineteen constitutional revisions under the Vand Repulique, but the procedure provided for in Article 89 is cumbersome – and fortunately: “You should only touch it with a trembling hand”, said Montesquieu. The National Assembly and Senate must first vote on the draft revision on an equal footing. The two chambers of Congress must then vote on it by a three-fifths majority, or the project must be approved by referendum – this was only done once, in 2000, to reduce the president’s term to five years.

heavy obstacle

This referendum provided for in Article 89 is beyond Marine Le Pen’s reach. Even if it were to win a majority in the Assembly, the Senate would never vote for a compliant text – the Les Républicains faction has 146 members out of 348, and Marine Le Pen has lost its only senator, going to Eric Zemmour. There remains one more referendum provided for in Article 11. General de Gaulle used it twice, in 1962 to elect the President of the Republic by universal suffrage, then in 1969 to push through a reform of the Senate. The failure of the second led to his resignation: the referendum always has a plebiscite dimension.

Also read: The referendum proposed by Marine Le Pen is a break with republican principles

The maneuvers of 1962 had also caused an outcry. Gaston Monnerville, President of the Senate and originally more of a Gaullist, spoke of “Forfeiture” about the Prime Minister Georges Pompidou, who had signed the project. “Forfaiture,” a terrible word for an elected official, denoting the crime of an official in the performance of his or her duties.

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