Sarkozy turning France into monocracy, say opposition Socialist party

July 17th, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 17 (ANI): President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has been accused by the opposition Socialist party of wanting to turn the country into a “monocracy” as he scrambles to win last-minute backing for a constitutional reform bill, which he argues will strengthen parliament. The Socialist party is calling for a “No” vote on the bill, which has split the ruling UMP party, and it is uncertain whether Sarkozy can secure the required three-fifths majority in the upper and lower houses of parliament to push it through.
“I hope that those Socialists who are sincere will understand that it would be ridiculous to vote against a reform they have been dreaming about for years without ever enacting it,” Sarkozy said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper.
But Socialist senator Robert Badinter retorted that “this is a monocracy, the power of one (man)”.
The vote takes place next Monday, reports The Independent.
The reform, according to Sarkozy, would on the contrary create an “exemplary democracy” by giving parliament new oversight functions. These would counter-balance the President’’s powers, said to be the most concentrated in the Western world.
Presidents would no longer be able to run for a third term, some presidential appointments would need approval by parliamentary commissions, and parliament would be allowed to set half of its own agenda, instead of the government dictating the entire running order.
Among the sweeping changes, Socialists staunchly oppose one that would allow the President to address parliament directly, in a French-style state of the union address. Currently he cannot enter the National Assembly.
The opposition also insists the bill must reform the voting system for the Senate, whose convoluted collegiate system favours the Right, which has had a majority there since 1958. Sarkozy proposed only minor changes.
But with the vote expected to go to the wire - a matter of four people according to one right-winger - the President announced a series of last-minute sweeteners yesterday.
“I promise that there will be guarantees allowing the opposition to respond every time the president makes public comments on domestic politics,” Sarkozy said without specifying what form of response. (ANI)

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