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French strikes in Syria: a formal debate in the French Parliament

(B2) French parliamentarians will debate, without voting, Monday (April 16), from 17 p.m. the military operation led by France, the United States and Great Britain against Syria, the president of the National Assembly, François de Rugy. “ This will allow the government to speak to all MPs and all parliamentary groups to express their positions. he added on twitter.

A simple information without vote

France does not have a tradition of consulting Parliament (in advance, with a vote), unlike most European countries. Article 35 of the Constitution thus provides only that the government “ informs Parliament of its decision to involve armed forces abroad, no later than three days after the start of the intervention ". This procedure can still be done a posteriori. " It specifies the objectives pursued. This information may give rise to a debate which is not followed by any vote. », adds the article.

No consultation tradition

The debate is not even obligatory. It's only " when the duration of the intervention exceeds four months », that Parliament acquires the power to authorize (or not) the extension of the operation. This gives France a 'competitive advantage' over most of its European counterparts in the initiation and conduct of military operations.

NB: In Europe, France is the only one to benefit from such an exceptional procedure... with Russia and a few Central European countries. The various French presidents have been careful not to go beyond this procedure (even if nothing would prevent them from consulting parliamentarians beforehand).

Information from the main groups

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe brought together on Sunday morning (April 15) the leaders of the Assembly and the Senate, after the strikes carried out during the night from Friday to Saturday against the chemical arsenal of the Damascus regime, to inform them and gather their feedback. notice.

NB: This meeting, held almost 24 hours after a press conference of the two ministers concerned (Le Drian for Foreign Affairs and Parly for Defense) and that of the army general staff, appears to constitute rather an attempt to catch up 'a mistake committed by Emmanuel Macron's government which preferred to ensure communication with the press than with elected representatives.

No Sacred Union

Unlike certain previous interventions (in Mali for example), the French intervention did not really arouse sacred unity, with many voices criticizing this action carried out without a UN mandate: Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France Insoumise) , Marine Le Pen (National Front) and Laurent Wauquiez (Les Républicains) denounced it. The Socialist Party, former Republican figures such as Alain Juppé and Xavier Bertrand, and the centrists of the UDI, however, support this operation.

(NGV with AFP)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).