Behind the key positions, another battle, sometimes “manly”, is played out in the Assembly: that which consists in finding the best office between those sometimes dilapidated but prestigious of the Palais Bourbon, and those more modern but more distant in the annexes.
“Each time, it’s a war to find out who will be closest to the hemicycle” among the 577 deputies, confides a collaborator of the majority, for whom, “despite certain offices which may fall into disuse, the Palace remains the top of the top”.
Because when the bell rings for a vote, 5 short minutes pass before the vote. A deadline that is all the more crucial in the event of a tight majority, as is likely to be often the case now.
Having the right office, “it’s the quest for the Grail”, jokes Philippe Gosselin (LR), mocking some “piailleurs” dissatisfied with their fate.
It lists those who want to be “next to the Holy of Holies” at the Palais Bourbon, or “not very far” rue Aristide Briand (the “3AB”), and those who aim for “101” rue de l’Université, with its “commodities” such as showers or sofa beds. The “offices-beds” are usually reserved for those who come from far away.
Each of these sites has 262 offices respectively, 160 and 247 for MEPs, but also their staff and political groups.
For lack of space under the last mandate, the group “Freedoms and territories” had also been entitled to a prefabricated time. This year, within the LR group, we are worried about being dislodged, towards less spacious premises.
Ugo Bernalicis (LFI) confirms that the question of the office “is not neutral”. In his eyes, those of “101” tick “the most boxes”, running to the hemicycle being “playable with the tunnel” which connects the annex to the Palace.
But being at “101”, we are “non-stop running”, loose Marie-Christine Dalloz (LR), who has practice after already three terms.
The distribution of offices is the subject of negotiations between political groups, which themselves then distribute the m2 among their members.
Elected for 20 years, the leader of the Communist deputies André Chassaigne assures AFP that the distribution is “a headache for a group president”, with deputies often very assertive.
He remembers the elected PCF Maxime Gremetz, accustomed to bloodshed and who served several terms between 1978 and 2011, had gone there … with a crowbar to annex a coveted office. He had been “sanctioned afterwards”.
In the corridors of the Assembly, some newcomers claim not to worry about this issue.
“I choose my battles and the office is not part of them”, says Nicolas Metzdorf, elected by the majority in New Caledonia.
At his side, Philippe Dunoyer, also elected in New Caledonia, notes that ultra-marines are “not necessarily a priority” to be close to the hemicycle, while admitting that in the current configuration it can be useful, “when it sounds for a ballot and that we have to carapate“.
“I am not fighting for an office, rather to have responsibilities”, also says Erwan Balanant (MoDem). He recognizes, however, that there may be “battles”, for example for historical offices where certain figures have sat. “People have taken offices in a somewhat manly way by setting up their business,” he testifies.
Re-elected, Thomas Mesnier (Horizons) is preparing to leave his large office as general rapporteur of the Social Affairs Committee, “in the heart of the Palace”, which is “an undeniable luxury and very very practical for work” . But the elected representative from Charente also sees “benefits to being at 101”, the beds avoiding “the somewhat painful stewardship of having to book a room” in the residence of the Assembly, which has 51, or at the hotel .
While waiting for an office, Mikaele Seo (Renaissance group), just arrived from Wallis and Futuna, explains that he had to go “to work in the cafe”.
Others “without a fixed office” make phone calls from the living rooms.
06/30/2022 12:10:37 – Paris (AFP) – © 2022 AFP