“There are rules that are in demand because we are in a difficult period and that there is a moral requirement, renovation (…) when the Republic is elected, there must be rules as appropriate. ” These are the words of the President July 14 when he announced the creation of a Commission for the Moralization of Politics.
Headed by former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who had retired from politics in 2002, the mission statement of this new committee was unveiled Monday. The appointment of Jospin, mocked by the opposition because it does not embody “modernity,” is not a coincidence. When he was Prime Minister, he had entrusted the PS to François Hollande, and is universally respected for his honesty.
The moralization of political life was one of Hollande’s campaign promises. The commission will consider mainly the introduction of more proportional representation for legislative and open a wider debate on the voting system as well as implementing the rule against holding multiple positions. French politicians are accustomed to combining various local and national mandates. Hollande wants to abolish this practice. The Commission will also work on modernizing the administrative organization of the different regions.
The problems of campaign finance, highly -regulated in France since the 1990s, and the conflict of interest will also be addressed. Similarly, the commission will propose ways to reform the judicial status of the President and a draft code of ethics may be written.
This committee will consist of 14 people, mostly academics, intellectuals, experts and senior officials of various political tendencies. Only Lionel Jospin and Roselyne Bachelot have had a real political career. The appointment of the latter also raises controversy from the right.
Roselyne Bachelot, whose family is related to Charles De Gaulle, was former Minister to Jacques Chirac and Sarkozy. She was heavily criticized within the UMP, since she has accepted the position on the commission. Additionally, a few weeks ago she published a book that is highly critical of the Sarkozy campaign.
According to Christian Jacob, president of the UMP in the National Assembly, “Bachelot not represent in any party. She decided to be part of this commission, it is her personal problem.” A UMP deputy has mocked her as “the coming out socialist.” The former minister has defended herself on the technical aspect of the organization and maintaining that keeping “a woman on the right” was an important step.
“It is a recognition of my freedom of mind, my outspokenness. I hope that on some issues, we can leave the purely clan-like feedback,” she added in a TV interview.
But the controversy did not end with Roselyne Bachelot. For many, the establishment of such a commission takes away the role of Parliament. The UMP has also announced the creation of a shadow Committee in September. The Europe-Ecologie-Les-Verts (EELV) has criticized the making of a specific commission for a topic that could have been handled by the National Assembly or the Senate.
The first meeting of the commission should it be held July 25 and the findings and conclusions will be given to President in late November. Then it will be up to government to propose reforms to address the morality of politics.