The future presidential candidates are already polishing their weapons and firing their first cartridges. Over the weeks, despite our disappointments repeated every five years, we will place in the election of a new head of state all our hopes for the restoration of the nation, our economy and our social contract. To live up to our expectations, each candidate will promise to re-enchant the country and give hope to the youth. Whether his program is sincere or demagogic, the one who wins will be the one whose words have most thrilled our diaphragm and illuminated our irises.
And then, when the enthusiasm for the campaign has subsided, and September and its procession of increases herald a harsh fall, we will remember that this new president has no more magic wands than his predecessors. We will fall, some, into a gloomy sluggishness and, others, into social anger. At the end of six months, we will have resigned ourselves to waiting four and a half years to afford the right to hope again.
→ DOSSIER. Emmanuel Macron
This is the French drama. Royalist and regicide people, we want to appoint our monarch the better to dismiss him. We base all our hopes on the figure of a president whom we would like to convince ourselves that he would have the omnipotence to raise the nation. However, if the election by direct universal suffrage gives a democratic legitimacy unlike any other to the French president, it does not confer on him any miraculous power. Even more exposed since 2002 and the five-year term, the president no longer has any fuse. Nicolas Sarkozy understood this well by not wasting time in changing prime minister. François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron who did so have never been able to initiate a new phase of their five-year term.
Sarkozy: from “the hyper-president to the hypo-president”
The French are steeped in the certainty that our presidential system is the best; whereas the mere fact that it does not exist in any other western democracy should encourage us to be less peremptory. The first reason is linked to the major place occupied by General de Gaulle in our republican pantheon. Without De Gaulle, no presidential dogma because there is no savior. The second reason is the chronic instability of the IIIe and IVe Republics; assigned by shortcut to the parliamentary system. If this was really the case, why have the Germans only known three chancellors in forty years – all re-elected – when we had, at the same time, five presidents and seventeen prime ministers?
→ MAINTENANCE. Michel Barnier: “I will take my part in the public debate in France”
Even more than German democracy, the current British example is the most instructive. Reelected in 2015 for a new five-year term, David Cameron was forced to resign after the vote in favor of Brexit in June 2016. Theresa May succeeded him and for three years regained the legitimacy to govern without having to go through the polls again . Once put in difficulty by the successive failures of negotiations with Europe, his replacement by Boris Johnson gave back to this majority, however exhausted by nine years in power, a dynamic so strong that Boris Johnson was able to afford the luxury of early general election that the Conservatives won with an unprecedented wave.
A dysfunctional diet
In a parliamentary system, the same majority can equip itself during the mandate of a new leader with a new personality and a new direction, guaranteeing him to be able to act until the end of the legislature. In a presidential system like France, this capacity for regeneration does not exist. Once unpopular, the president can change as many times as he wants the prime minister, only he will remain exposed. The presidential system that we boast is actually the most dysfunctional in the world!
→ ANALYSIS. The Macron method: authority, collegiality, confidentiality
It has often been said that the office of Prime Minister should be abolished because it would duplicate it. Contrary to popular belief, it is the President of the Republic that must be removed! It is at the end of legislative elections – as in 1986, 1993 and 1997 – that the leader of a majority appointed by his camp at the start of the campaign must take the post of prime minister, as in almost all European democracies. If, before the end of the legislature, it is out of breath or damaged, then the same majority can replace it to give a new impetus.
Democracy without a President
And if, in April 2022, rather than throwing ourselves again in the arms of the most talkative, we made another bet: to follow the one who humbly says: “A president cannot and must not do everything. My project is to delete my post! I will have its abolition adopted immediately after my election to become the revocable prime minister of my majority! Does that seem incongruous to a Frenchman? And yet, this is how all other Western democracies turn out.
→ OUR FILE. The latest information on the 2022 presidential election
Is it a Sixth Republic, as so many candidates are agitating it to give themselves a veneer of modernity? No. It is a question of returning to the sketch of the Ve of the Republic, as it was adopted in 1958, before the election by direct universal suffrage and before the quinquennium.
Suppress the President and restore Republic 5.0!