Among the battles in which the parties have been engaged since the result of the legislative elections, that for the presidency of the Finance Committee occupies a central place. The presidential majority is alarmed to see it fall into the hands of LFI, the RN claims it in the name of tradition, and LR keeps an eye on it. Why is this position so coveted and strategic? Who can really access it? What power can the government have over its allocation? 20 minutes takes stock for you.
Who can run for the presidency of this commission?
According to the regulations of the National Assembly, since 2009, “can only be elected to the presidency of the Finance, General Economy and Budgetary Control Commission a deputy belonging to a group that has declared itself to be in opposition “. But not necessary the opposition group with the largest number of deputies, as has become the tradition. With its 89 deputies, the RN claimed the post of president on Monday, a first for the far right. Gérard Larcher, LR president of the Senate, was in favor of this scenario.
But the partition of the Assembly, almost unprecedented under the Fifth Republic, and the positions of the RN do not make it the only candidate party. With about 150 elected, the Nupes can largely claim the post, provided that its parties agree on a name. Eric Coquerel, former member of the commission, is a candidate, but the possibility of seeing a rebellious person in this position frightens Renaissance and the right as much if not more than an RN. Socialist Valérie Rabault, a specialist in these sometimes arid budgetary issues, could provide a compromise.
What powers come with the position?
The Finance Committee is one of the most powerful and prestigious in the Assembly: it examines all draft budgets before they are discussed and voted on in the Chamber. And as in the other committees, it is the president who organizes the debates and the agenda, in particular for the key examination of the budget each autumn. Like other deputies, the chairman of the commission can also carry out “document and on-site checks” to request administrative documents from the ministries or departments of the State.
He also has the possibility of accessing documents covered by fiscal secrecy. With a few reservations, however: this must be done within the framework of its law review and control missions, and it does not have the right to “violate” tax secrecy by revealing the information to which it would have had access, a risk agitated by the presidential majority during the legislative campaign against LFI, under penalty of sanctions. In the eyes of Eric Coquerel, “this is fake news. We are not going to use that as a political weapon against personalities. On the other hand, yes, we want to take strong action on issues of tax evasion and everything that comes under tax avoidance”.
Can the presidential camp influence?
The practice is that the majority does not take part in the vote, leaving the opposition to choose. But some macronists have hinted that it could be different this time, to play the arbiters and prevent the commission from falling to a profile they would consider too radical, LFI or RN. Allied with Emmanuel Macron, the ex-LR and outgoing chairman of the Finance Committee Eric Woerth is directly opposed to such an approach: “we must let the opposition organize itself, it is very dangerous to defend the other line”.
And Eric Coquerel already warns: “If LREM decides to take part in the vote, it would be a very bad start to the five-year term. In the spirit, it would start to be a big problem in democratic terms”.