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Parliamentarians' body face the virus: Reflections on parliamentary representation in a pandemic context in the French National Assembly

Abstract : I propose here to present a reflection rooted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic of spring 2020. I will focus on the inclination of the French National Assembly infrastructure to be a privileged vector for the spread of the virus throughout the national territory. The reason for this is twofold: on the one hand, it is due to the historical promiscuity of the Palais Bourbon and, on the other hand, to the intense movement of political staff between Paris and the metropolitan as well as the overseas constituencies. As a result, there is a great risk that the Palais Bourbon and the 577 constituency offices could become a source of epidemic in the event of a pandemic. My argument is that the solution to this problem is not as simple as it seems, as my personal research shows that it is not possible in France to imagine a parliamentary representation at a distance, far from the Palais Bourbon and free from the physical movement of MPs. While the generalised confinement of the population in 2020 has certainly neutralised the risk, it is not a viable solution because of the exceptional regulatory regime for the National Assembly that it has induced (no regime of “hybrid procedures” has been put in place in the French Parliament, as in the United Kingdom for example). The requirement of physically embodied political representation finds a clear limit here, which will inevitably require the authorities of the National Assembly to take positions in the short and medium term.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02975248
Contributor : Jonathan Chibois <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 3:18:24 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 3:10:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, January 23, 2021 - 7:42:10 PM

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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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  • HAL Id : halshs-02975248, version 1

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Jonathan Chibois. Parliamentarians' body face the virus: Reflections on parliamentary representation in a pandemic context in the French National Assembly. Annual Conference 2020: “Perspectives on Legislatures and Legislative Power: Past, Present, Future”, Canadian Study of Parliament Group, Oct 2020, Ottawa, Canada. ⟨halshs-02975248⟩

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