the risk for the executive that immigration becomes the almost sole subject of public debate

The government has paved the way for the “end of soil law” in Mayotte to fight against illegal immigration. If the migration crisis is deep on the island, this decision, which requires a constitutional revision, opens the way to long months of debate.



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The Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, (left) and the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, during the visit to the Ermont-Eaubonne police station, in Val-d'Oise, January 10, 2024. (BERTRAND GUAY /AFP)

It was believed that the political debate over immigration would subside for a while after legislation was passed in December. But the executive is at it again with a text in preparation to remove land rights in Mayotte. A bill of“emergency” announced for May 22 in the Council of Ministers, prior to a constitutional revision. And so again long months of debates in perspective.

The majority emerged washed out and divided from the long streak last December. The government had only reluctantly approved a text that it did not like. Emmanuel Macron and Gérald Darmanin hoped for censorship from the Constitutional Council. On January 25, the Sages repealed the provisions added by the right. And boom, as soon as this marathon is over, the executive dives back in.

The same situation as in December

The migration crisis in Mayotte is deep. The government could no longer tolerate the 101st French department being prey to violence and blocked by roadblocks. But politically, what is striking is that the executive finds itself in exactly the same situation as in December, that is to say in the hand of the right and the extreme right. Will the government really be able to count on the reliable support of LR parliamentarians to have its constitutional revision adopted? How will he manage the outbidding of the RN which is calling for the abolition of land rights across the entire French territory. And then will the majority divide again, and to what extent? Some MPs have already made known their discomfort with the upcoming reform.

The right is also putting forward its proposals. Éric Ciotti feels like he’s been cheated. He therefore initiated the RIP procedure, the shared initiative referendum, to resuscitate his measures rejected by the Constitutional Council. Without much hope since he must collect nearly five million signatures from citizens in nine months. But his initiative will fuel the controversy. Without forgetting the reform of state medical aid that Gabriel Attal wants to implement œimplemented by regulation. In short, the atmosphere is once again at the Lépine competition on immigration. An important subject to be addressed by those in power of course, but the risk for the executive is that by dint of one-upmanship, it becomes the almost sole subject of public debate. To the delight of the far right.

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