Chaotic session, truncated text. The government, deprived of an absolute majority in Parliament, suffered a first setback in the Assembly overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday on the health bill, adopted without a key article on the possible return of a health pass for entries into France.

“The hour is serious”, estimated the Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in the night. “By joining together to vote against the protective measures for the French against Covid LFI, the LRs and the RN prevent any border control against the virus”, she denounced overnight on Twitter.

“After disbelief on this vote, I will fight for the spirit of responsibility to prevail in the Senate,” she added.

“If she wants to count on the Senate, she must also receive the group presidents of the Senate. For the moment she has ignored them”, replied Wednesday morning on France 2, the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau.

“Parliament has done its job, the opposition has done its job”, reacted on Franceinfo the deputy RN Sébastien Chenu, rejoicing that the text was “boned”.

“It’s time for democracy, with which you definitely have a serious problem, Madam Prime Minister! Instead, thank the right which, in the end, votes for your text which does not provide for anything to strengthen our health system but just freedom-killing measures !”, replied LFI coordinator Adrien Quatennens on Twitter.

The text examined at first reading at the Palais Bourbon was adopted by 221 votes against 187 and 24 abstentions during the final vote on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. He must now go to the Senate.

The Minister of Health François Braun concluded laconically “to take note” of the discussions punctuated by multiple negotiations and suspensions of the session. He assured that he would work to restore this text in its entirety during the rest of the legislative process.

“Long, tedious, instructive debates on the reality of political balances and forces in this hemicycle”, summed up Raphaël Schellenberger (LR) at the end of the session.

Rémy Rebeyrotte (Renaissance, Ex-LREM), lamented a “football match atmosphere” in the hemicycle, while France has just passed the bar of 150,000 Covid deaths.

The debates which began on Monday and which had resumed on Tuesday at the end of the afternoon, were punctuated by tensions, heckling and unforeseen reversals of majority according to the articles and amendments.

This first text of the legislature thus reflected the difficulty of maneuvering for the government and the relative majority it has.

In the opposition, the multiple votes on the articles and amendments showed resolute hostility from the RN and most left-wing groups (LFI, communists, ecologists).

But the Socialists have often been absent from the hemicycle or have taken refuge in abstention, the LRs showing themselves sometimes divided.

The bill ratifies the expiry on August 1 of the “exorbitant common law” framework for the state of health emergency and the crisis management regime put in place at the end of May 2021.

It is “the extinction of the legal regime of the state of health emergency” and of the “health and vaccination pass in the daily life of the French”, underlined Monday François Braun.

But article 2 of this “health watch and security” bill was rejected at the end of the evening by 219 votes against 195, thanks to a combination of votes from the RN, LR and a majority of the Nupes left alliance.

This article provided for the possibility, if necessary, of restoring the health pass for “extra-hexagonal” travel, from or to abroad. A provision allowing this pass to be required for underage travelers had been rejected a little before.

Anxious to spare some of the opposition, the government and its majority had nevertheless granted some changes requested on the LR and socialist benches concerning overseas territories.

The preliminary work in committee had also seen the government agree to a January 31 deadline for the bill’s measures, instead of the March 31 planned in the original version.

The text is now essentially reduced to its article 1, which allows, due to a still fragile epidemic situation, to continue to collect health data on screening tests (SI-DEP device).

Two other remaining articles, on the modalities of a parliamentary follow-up, have been merged into one.

The elected RN, LR and leftists have throughout the debates multiplied the attacks against the refusal of the government to reinstate the caregivers suspended due to a refusal to be vaccinated.

07/13/2022 08:40:24 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP