Posted on Jan 6, 2022, 8:38 a.m.Updated Jan 6, 2022, 8:39 AM
The account is good. After three days of tumultuous debates, fueled by controversial remarks by Emmanuel Macron, ready to “piss off” the unvaccinated, the National Assembly adopted this Thursday in the early hours of first reading the bill transforming the health pass into vaccine pass. Announced in mid-December by the executive in the face of the rampant Covid epidemic, the text was approved at 5:25 a.m. by 214 votes in favor, those of the majority and part of the LR and the PS. They were 93 deputies to vote against, including the left of the left, the RN, and 3 LREM dissidents. Twenty-seven abstained.
The bill must now be considered by the right-wing Senate early next week, for an entry into force that the government wanted on January 15 but which should be postponed by a few days. Those over 12 will then need to be able to prove their vaccination status to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars, fairs or interregional public transport.
A negative test will no longer suffice, except for access to health establishments and services. Among their retouching amendments, the deputies postponed from 12 to 16 years the need for a vaccination pass for school trips and peri and extracurricular activities.
Seizure of the Constitutional Council on controls
The last night of discussions progressed chuggingly, with some outbursts of voices on the sanitary pass in the meetings or the situation overseas. The course of article 1 (out of 3) was not crossed until 3 o’clock in the morning. “We are tired, deputies must return to the constituency”, let loose an elected official in the corridors, while the Minister of Health Olivier Véran said he was ready to “chain” the meeting with morning meetings.
Until the end of the night, the parliamentarians exchanged on the merits, the oppositions targeting in particular the identity checks that can operate cafetiers or restaurateurs in the event of “serious reasons” to believe that there is fraud in the vaccine pass . Martine Wonner, muse of covidosceptics, said she feared “a denouncing society”. The LR deputies, who were finally divided on the overall vote on the bill (28 for, 24 against, 22 abstentions), announced that they would seize the Constitutional Council on this point of checks.
Castex summoned to explain himself
Prime Minister Jean Castex himself came, Wednesday afternoon, to ask parliamentarians to accelerate, after the blockage caused by the words of Emmanuel Macron. “The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so we will continue to do so, until the end. This is the strategy, “proclaimed the head of state in an interview with” Parisien “Tuesday. “When my freedom threatens the freedom of others, I become irresponsible. An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen, ”he added.
Summoned to explain himself, Jean Castex first confirmed before the Senate his desire to put pressure on the unvaccinated. “Who is insulting the nation? […] Who leads caregivers in our emergencies to make dramatic ethical choices? Well, it’s a tiny minority, ”he said. Then at the Palais-Bourbon, the Prime Minister urged the deputies to “debate as quickly as possible”, given the health situation.
“Excuse yourself” for the “unworthy remarks” of the president, had told him the patroness of the rebels in the Assembly, Mathilde Panot. Leader of LR deputies, Damien Abad had criticized a “cold and calculating populism” on the part of the head of state.
Record of infections
LR presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse, for her part, accused Emmanuel Macron of making “a diversion with his sentences”, in an interview with “La Provence”. About 53% of French people said they were “shocked” by Emmanuel Macron’s words, and 47% “not shocked”, according to an Elabe poll published Wednesday evening.
The deputy and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen estimated that the executive wanted to “condemn to social death” the unvaccinated, while the sovereignist candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan spoke out against measures “of the most liberticidal”.
Some 332,252 new Covid-19 contaminations were recorded on Wednesday, a new record, while the number of hospitalized patients continued to increase, especially in critical care services. And 66,000 people had received a first dose of vaccine on Wednesday, a record since October 1, according to Olivier Véran, who seemed to make the link with the pressure exerted by the executive. Some “5% of hospitalized patients” have false passes, also indicated the minister. The bill increases penalties for fraud.