Secularism, fight against “separatism”, immigration … Regal matters were at the heart of the program “Vous ont la parole”, Thursday February 11 on France 2. The Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin was the guest principal, at the time of the debate on the bill “reinforcing the respect for the principles of the Republic”.
After his interview, the former deputy and mayor of Tourcoing (North) debated for more than an hour with the president of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen. An expected return for the former presidential candidate, almost four years after his failed debate against Emmanuel Macron during the in-between rounds. Here are eight sequences from their interventions.
1“Global security”: “We could have done it differently” on article 24
Asked about any regrets since his arrival at Place Beauvau, Gérald Darmanin immediately referred to article 24 of the “comprehensive security” bill. This, very strongly contested, provided for the possibility of penalizing the dissemination of “the image of the face or any other identifying element” a police officer or gendarme in intervention, if the broadcaster’s intention was deemed malicious.
“The goals are very noble and I continue to support them, the fact that it is necessary to protect the police officers, the gendarmes in the police operations”, defended the Minister of the Interior. However, “We could have done it differently, I could have done it differently. In particular, write in the law that journalists were totally excluded”, recognized Gérald Darmanin. “It’s a mistake that I will not make again. (…) If we can write it better, it would be better for everyone.”
2“I will not be indicted”
Before his debate with Marine Le Pen, the Minister of the Interior was questioned about the investigation for rape targeting him. “There have been three successive court decisions (…) I see that after four years, this slander does not stop”, he denounced, comparing his situation to the Baudis affair, in reference to the former mayor of Toulouse falsely implicated in the 2000s.
“I am not asking for any exceptions, even if there has been a certain relentlessness”, again lamented Gerald Darmanin. On the set, the minister assured that he would not “not indicted in this case”. “There is for the fourth time a justice that will be pronounced and I am waiting for it”, he concluded.
3Police violence: Gérald Darmanin denounces a “trial”
Léa Salamé and Thomas Sotto continued their interview on the issue of police violence. After hearing Doria Chouviat, widow of delivery man Cédric Chouviat, the Minister of the Interior stressed that “the police are checked more than any other officials.” “The police and gendarmes do a wonderful job for our country. (But) there are police officers and there are gendarmes, as in any profession, who can dishonor their function”, recognized Gérald Darmanin.
The latter nevertheless denounced a “trial” who “is not very fair”. “You are going to condemn an entire institution, hundreds of thousands of women and men for a few. I refuse to condemn a very small part by saying that it is the whole”, he defended.
4“Me, I attack the Islamist ideology”, launches Marine Le Pen to Gérald Darmanin
From 9:30 p.m., the interview gave way to the debate between Marine Le Pen and Gérald Darmanin. Their confrontation began on the main topic of the evening: the bill “consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic”. “You want us to target a religion”, replied the Minister of the Interior to the president of the National Rally, who accuses the text of not sufficiently naming its target, radical Islamism.
“I think it is you who are making a mistake by attacking religions (…) I am attacking Islamist ideology”, defended Marine Le Pen. “It is a totalitarian ideology (…) I am going to prohibit it absolutely in all expressions that are his.”
5Book by Gérald Darmanin: “I could have signed it”, says Marine Le Pen
During the debate, Marine Le Pen held in her hands Islamist separatism – Manifesto for secularism (L’Observatoire editions), an essay recently written by the Minister of the Interior. “I could have signed this book”, let go of the president of the National Rally, prompting an immediate reaction from Gérald Darmanin: “No it is going to be fine.”
In the eyes of the former presidential candidate, this book describes “Islamism in an extremely clear way”. “And this is not the case at all with the law”, she regretted. “How did we get past this book … You talk about the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafism, you say that it is the most terrible ideology in the modern world. Of all this, we say to ourselves, but that is what remains in the law? “
6On secularism, “you are softer than we can be”
Criticized by Marine Le Pen for not clearly targeting radical Islamism through the bill “reinforcing the respect of the principles of the Republic”, Gérald Darmanin tackled the figure of the National Assembly, describing it as “a little rickety, a little soft” on questions of secularism. “I find that indeed you are softer than we can be”, launched the Minister of the Interior. “Make strong decisions that affect Madame Le Pen cults “, he insisted.
7Immigration: a battle of numbers
The debate then continued on the issue of immigration, a subject often targeted by the National Assembly. “Why do you continue to grant 471,000 residence permits as in 2019? “, launched Marine Le Pen to Gérald Darmanin. The Minister of the Interior replied without delay to these approximations, recalling, graphically, that the number of residence permits issued in 2019 was around 277,000.
“You have lost control of immigration”, added the leader of the National Rally. “It’s not serious, you instill fear”, denounced the Minister of the Interior, continuing to contradict her on the immigration figures.
8Wearing the veil: “you are not serious”, loose Gérald Darmanin
The debate turned into a cacophony on the issue of wearing the veil in public space. Taking the example of Latifa Ibn Ziaten, mother of the first victim of Mohamed Merah, Gérald Darmanin defended the fact of not “ask him to remove his veil in public space”. “Are you going to ask him to take his scarf off this lady?”, he told Marine Le Pen.
This veil worn by the mother ofImad Ibn Ziaten, “it is not an Islamic veil “, replied the president of the National Rally. “The police of the Republic will therefore have to distinguish what is Islamic clothing from what is not? It is clear that you are not serious”, reacted the Minister of the Interior.