Former left wing walkers have put on the menu of the Assembly a series of proposals that divide the majority: animal welfare, extension of the legal deadline for resorting to abortion …

The National Assembly on September 22, 2020 (hooly News / THOMAS COEX)

Animal welfare, extension of the deadline for abortion and also paternity leave: deputies former walkers of the left wing on Thursday put on the menu of the National Assembly a series of proposals which put the majority against the wall. These deputies “know the LREM group well and know what divides us. Their proposals serve to sow discord among us”, plague a Macronist official who has, in particular, the text on animals and its provisions on hunting.

Who are these restless elected officials? Around Matthieu Orphelin, close to the former Minister of the Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot, they are fifteen to have formed in May the group Ecology Democracy Solidarity, which wants to be “independent”. The texts they chose to include in their “parliamentary niche” on Thursday sound like manifestos.

Heading the bill is Cédric Villani’s bill aimed at banning certain practices that generate suffering in animals. The EDS worked early on the subject, which gained momentum with the attempt since July of a shared initiative referendum (RIP). Four other proposals are on the program: to extend from 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy the legal period for resorting to abortion, for “equal kinship leave” and again to experiment with a “citizen sponsorship” system for refugees, stateless or protected persons. Delphine Batho (ex-PS), also at EDS, must also push for a moratorium on the establishment of Amazon-type warehouses.

In order not to overload the agenda, the EDS deputies had to put aside two other texts in the face of “the majority and LR who decided to block these advances”, deplores Matthieu Orphelin. He himself had to bring a bill to “make advertising a lever in the service of ecological transition”, in line with the Citizen’s Convention for the climate. Paula Forteza, co-president of the group, had to defend the right to vote from 16 years old.

The majority forced to position themselves

The majority, until then shy and wait-and-see, were forced to position themselves quickly on this range of measures. Because it is no longer possible to sweep aside with the back of the hand the proposals registered in the “niches”, even coming from a group like EDS perceived as having tilted in the opposition. The walkers remember the painful episode of January 2020, when they rejected the idea of ​​UDI-Agir of an extension of the leave for the bereavement of a child, causing a wave of indignation. No more question for them of following the finger on the seam of the pants the instructions of the government. “LREM is emancipated”, greets Paula Forteza.

But with the texts of Thursday, the EDS parliamentarians “make blows” and are “die-hards”, creaks a walker on the front line. The response has been expertly calibrated. Thursday, the majority must thus adopt the bills on animal suffering, removing the measures on hunting or intensive breeding, and on voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion). However, on this subject, “it is by taking the necessary time”, with the government, the Senate and even the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE), “that we will take a final decision”, specifies the boss of the deputies LREM Christophe Castaner.

Regarding paternity leave, the measure has been rewritten to correspond to the fresh announcements of President Emmanuel Macron on his extension from 11 to 25 consecutive days, with seven mandatory days. On the government side, we are assured that the device had been in the pipeline for several months. But “everything happens in the balance of power to get the interlocutors to do something”, argues its bearer at EDS, Guillaume Chiche, who thinks that going on these various subjects Thursday could “precipitate” announcements.

Does the rowdy little group ultimately help the majority move forward, unwittingly of their own accord? “When we want to put pressure, we negotiate, we do not impose”, retorts Bruno Questel (LREM). EDS deputies are now only 15, minimum threshold to remain a group. “After the ‘niche’, their last stand, it explodes”, dismisses a walker. At Ecologie Démocratie Solidarité, we have been ensuring from the start that we are “small but strong”.