The Report of the Jospin Committee: When Democracy Returns

Posted by Dimitris Rapidis on 12/11/12
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The Jospin Committee in France was assumed with the burden of proposing and shaping a “new land for politics” through institutional reforms. The fundamental aim was to bring citizens and institutions closer in order to displace the burden of decision-making and its departing points. Let us examine the most crucial ones.

1. Increase of the number of signatures someone who wants to enter politics should collect. In other words, the amount that is set to 500 signatures is now proposed to rise up to 150,000. The gap to achieve election elegibility is extremely higher in comparison with the actual one, but it is expected to create a more solid base of representation and support for those who want to be candidates.

2. The re-scheduling of elections in order to shorten the period between elections for the Presidency and legislative ones. The shortening of the period between these two is expected to accelerate the fundamental reforms that usually a newly-elected President is intented to pass. In addition, through this proposal it is also expected that democratic and reformative stability is guaranteed and solidified.

3. Elections for the Senate obtain a more proportional character as it is proposed to widen the number of representatives elected from the general and regional councils in favor of fewer delegates from the municipal councils. Behind this proposition lies the will of the Jospin Committee to re-balance the weigth put between larger and smaller communities, and between urban and rural regions. In other words, the proposition suggests and favorizes the increase of the representation of rural communities in comparison with the departments and the regions.

4. Lower the number of mandates being accumulated. The traditional habit of French politics to mingle and diffuse ministerial, parliementary, and local mandates without emphasizing on purposes and the importance of hierarchy is directly put into question.

5. The balance between any level of judicial persecution for the French President so that it can be brought into justice and be treated as a common citizen. This proposition opens the door of equality for two critical reasons: first, the French President has no special treatment due to its position. Second, any intention to appease or intensify the verdict due to political inclinations of the judges will be blocked.

6. The initiation of authorities responsible for dealing with conflicting interests, and more precisely, for unveiling and bringing publicly any hidden interest a certain politician might have during his mandate. This is a more deontological requisite and an effort to clarify and impede any lucrative occupation of the deputies during their service.

The Jospin Committee is endeavoring to combat political conservatism by bringing into debate some of the most critical aspects of political exercizing. To impede conflicting interests, insert morals in politics, and bring transparency in any possible transaction.

It is equally endeavoring to simplify and minimize the cost of intermediate processes, and therefore accelerating both the legislative work and further democratizing election requisites in favor of less privileged political regions. In addition to that, there is a clear effort to bring people closer to politics and create the conditions for a more direct and open political system.

In a period of deep untrust over politics, I personally believe that the report of the Committee is moving to the right direction. But now comes the hard part: Is the French political system capable of implementing it or the report will be once more considered as a proof of work rather than a proof of act?

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