The President of the Republic has been saying for two years that he wants to change the way France is governed (implied: by him). A fine opportunity will soon be offered to it with the election of a new National Assembly. Without having to think too much about “gadgets” that would best create an impression of refoundation, the easiest and fastest way to implement would be to restore vigor to the body which, with the Senate, makes the law and controls the ‘executive. Clearly, apply the Constitution not only in its letter, but also in its spirit.

6,500 candidates are running for the 577 deputy seats. We already hear the great thinkers of our time regretting that these candidates are too this or too that, essentially too white male middle managers in their fifties. Before the Big Brother of parity and positive discrimination imposes its solutions, those who are candidates nevertheless deserve our recognition for embarking on this adventure essential to our democracy.

The malevolence which today dominates everything will retain in one month only the reductions in transport, the sticker on the windshield and a few other small advantages procured by the mandate. She will be ironic on the other side of the coin, because the “lucky” ones will have sought it: the sacrifice of personal life, the permanent lazzis, suspicion and, since the movement of yellow vests, the risk of seeing their offices devastated. and why not to receive some gnons. All this for a salary lower than that of the deputies of most Western democracies and a statute where the controls – the sacrosanct transparency – are more severe than in any other profession… Which will not prevent them from being called “haves”. », of idlers and profiteers.

What awaits future elected officials could be even worse politically, if the practice remains that which presided over the first five-year term. They will quickly notice their instrumentalization by their group or commission presidents and their insignificance in the eyes of the least of the ministerial cabinet advisers, not to mention those of the Elysée, with the added bonus of the implacability of the voting discipline under penalty of exclusion.

They will be listened to and escorted out after assuring them of the importance of their opinion and the interest in it in high places. Then Saint Glin-Glin will pass without their files having advanced, without their amendments having been retained and without even their good ideas having been studied. This was regretted by the LREM deputies who decided to throw in the towel, with the bitterness of not having correctly fulfilled the mission that the nation had entrusted to them.

This disappointment is largely attributable to Emmanuel Macron’s practice of power, but it had been prepared by the institutional fiddling initiated by Jacques Chirac (for his comfort and… a third term made impossible by his stroke) and continued by Nicolas Sarkozy (enthusiastic by the American model): five-year term, inversion of the electoral calendar, erasure of the Prime Minister, one-way reading of the Constitution in favor of an executive reduced to the Head of State.

The “rationalized” parliamentary regime of the Fifth Republic has become an institutional object that is not even hybrid. It no longer has anything to do with the “presidentialism” of the de Gaulle years at Mitterrand and nothing in common with a presidential regime where the chambers remain strong. We are left with a president and his “collaborator” from Matignon, masters of all the choices, not even embarrassed by an Assembly held on a leash and a Senate which shouts in vain. Even Louis XIV was not so comfortable running the state, while First Consul Bonaparte had to deal with powers to prevent. We should not be surprised in these conditions that the real political challenge moves more and more in the media and in the street.

Nothing will slow this trend without restoring the Constitution to the original intentions of its founders: a President who presides, a government that governs, a Parliament that legislates and controls without stifling action. It is rumored that the return to the seven-year term would be part of the president’s projects, so much the better; that he wants a little proportional, but there, it’s missed this time. We will therefore suggest to our future deputies who are literally “representatives of the nation” (and not of their constituency) to take charge, to defend the rights of Parliament and not to compromise on their missions, to be ” slingers” from day one. We invite the 6,500 candidates to think now about the role they intend to play and, let’s dream a little, to see it as big as the mission entrusted to them. Otherwise, the institutional decline will continue, citizen conventions and other volapüks will take their place and the monarch will continue to think that his flashes are the only expression of the national will.

*Historian, professor at the Catholic Institute of Vendée