“Our institutions are completely blind and ossified. It is not by remaining inside this old straightjacket that we can change things. Bye-bye National Assembly! Like around thirty outgoing majority deputies, the representative of the 4th constituency of Gard, Annie Chapelier, 54, chose not to stand for a second term. Without regret. In 2017, this nurse anesthetist at the Nîmes hospital, a complete stranger who has never exercised any mandate, is chosen, to her greatest surprise, by La République en Marche. This citizen “neither right nor left”, but of ecological sensitivity, is part of the 89% of first-time deputies that the brand new party of Emmanuel Macron will then bring into the National Assembly. Five years later, she hung up, on a bitter observation: “Parliament is no more than a recording room. »
In an essay she has just published *, the elected denounces “the weight of lobbies and multinationals” in the development of laws and the powerlessness of parliamentarians. “It’s all a big theater piece, employing a lot of people and costing a lot of money. “If she was able to pass a few amendments, MP Chapelier, who left LREM in 2020, believes that she was only able to advance things “on the margins, superficially”: “If we give you a small spoon to move a mountain, you can move one cubic decimeter of land, but the mountain is still there. The nurse will return to her old profession, while following qualifying training in the field of health. If she ever goes into politics again, it will be as a local elected official: “This is the level of mandate where you really have the capacity to act to change the lives of people and society. »
A total of 70 deputies from the outgoing majority were not reappointed by Renaissance, of which around half voluntarily chose not to stand again. “We have several types of explanations from these deputies”, notes the sociologist Étienne Ollion, who has closely studied the elected representatives of the last term of office**: either they believe, like Annie Chapelier, that the National Assembly has no power. Either they find it a difficult life. “Being an MP is a very time-consuming activity, taking you at least 70 hours a week, with no weekend breaks. Because, when you go home, you have to do all the activities expected of an MP in the constituency. Another reason for dropping out, according to the sociologist: “the violence of the parliamentary environment, relatively unexpected for novices”.
So this former financial director of the Caisse des dépôts decided that one mandate was enough. Without bitterness. She believes that she passed useful amendments, for example to “fit trucks with alarms or speed reducers in the event of an open tailgate”, after a tragic accident in her constituency. And having “been able to contribute in silence to advancing the subject of biodiversity, which I care about”. The young retiree – 65 years old – will continue to be involved in this theme in several national structures and associations. “I will stay in touch with the ministries. If I hadn’t been an MP, I wouldn’t have had these new responsibilities. If she believes that the functioning of the Assembly should be changed and “give more power to the committees”, she considers the role of the deputy useful. “It’s a beautiful mandate. You have to encourage people to go there. »
Nicolas Démoulin, MP for the 8th constituency of Hérault, also felt useful. “I was trusted and entrusted with very good missions when I had no experience in politics, or even on the subjects that I dealt with”, is still surprised this former business manager in the communications industry for 49 years. In particular, he worked on two reports, one on emergency accommodation, the other on the prevention of evictions. “On this file, we made 53 recommendations, many of which have been followed. And yet, he too will not leave. “I would be afraid of disappointing myself and disappointing others. I did a good job. But I won’t have the energy to do one like that again. »
The life of an MP, he says, is “very demanding, exhausting, sometimes with complicated votes, where you have to be present at midnight. I don’t want to go back for the wrong reasons.” He does not yet know what he will do after June 19. But he is already looking forward to returning to life as a “private citizen.” It marked me a lot, the fact of being constantly, not watched, but in a kind of control. Even for me, who did not have a strong reputation, I was not always free in my actions. A future ex-MP’s wildest dream? To finally be able to go, like everyone else, for a drink in shorts, without worrying about the gaze of others…