PoliticsThe battle opens for the golden positions of the...

The battle opens for the golden positions of the National Assembly (remuneration, offices, prestige, etc.)

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As soon as the legislative elections are over, another battle begins. The 577 deputies elected last Sunday made their mark this week in the National Assembly. On the right and on the left, the parliamentarians have joined the Bourbon palace in recent hours for the traditional group photo. But behind the smiles, many negotiations are already underway. Committee presidencies, size of offices, friendship groups… “Sometimes you have to go and snatch positions with your teeth”, laughs a majority deputy. We take stock of the hotly contested golden positions within the hemicycle.

The most honorary: the presidency of the National Assembly

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“There are fights for everything. But the first one we had at the time was for the presidency of the National Assembly, the mother of all battles, ”recalls Alexis Bachelay, a former socialist deputy who entered the hemicycle after the victory of François Hollande in 2012. With the defeat of former President Richard Ferrand in the second round of legislative elections last Sunday, this very prestigious position should again attract covetousness. From the top of his perch, the fourth character of the Republic, who leads the debates in the hemicycle and watches over the rules, has many powers.

“It’s a very political post, with a significant diplomatic notion since it can receive heads of state. It traditionally comes down to a personality of stature. Most often, it is decided in advance with the support of the President of the Republic, but there are sometimes highly contested internal elections, ”assures Olivier Rozenberg, professor at Science Po, and specialist in parliamentary life. The perch is known to be the most uncomfortable seat in the hemicycle, but it has an undeniable asset: a small magic box, which allows the president to cut the chew of any deputy. It is therefore traditionally a consensual person, from the majority, who sits there. Barbara Pompili, Joël Giraud and Éric Woerth (Together!) are already candidates for the majority. A vote of the deputies scheduled for the first session next Tuesday will reveal the name of the lucky one.

The most strategic: Quaestor of the Assembly

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This is one of the most popular positions in the hemicycle. The three quaestors (two for the majority, one for the opposition) “are responsible for financial and administrative services”. In other words, they are the ones who hold the purse strings, a budget of more than 600 million euros, as well as the management of personnel, the car fleet, restaurants or even the Social Security system for deputies. Clearly, nothing is decided within the walls of the Bourbon Palace without their agreement. “The position was in high demand in 2017 because the quaestor still has control over the entire administration of the Assembly, he is at the heart of the big machine and the deputy’s salary is doubled there…”, confides a re-elected Macronist deputy sunday.

The quaestor benefits from a special allowance of more than 5,400 euros gross monthly, which is added to the basic deputy allowance, of just over 7,200 euros. The position also offers significant material advantages: a private secretariat, a car with drivers or even 400 square meter official accommodation at the Hôtel de la Questure. “It’s a prestigious position, rather reserved for senior members, who indeed come with significant privileges. But it is above all a question of prestige. The apartment thus makes it possible to hold receptions, to animate meetings, and attests to their political importance”, adds Olivier Rozenberg. Within these salons, far from the parliamentary bustle and the cameras, the most secret negotiations sometimes take place. It is in these apartments that François Hollande would have tied a non-aggression pact with Martine Aubry just before his enthronement at the Elysée, reports the Point. It is also here that some politicians meet for football matches or very alcoholic evenings.

The most practical: an office with a berth

It is a less political battle but just as crucial for the new MPs. For offices, it’s a bit of a lottery. “If I could have a bigger office, I would try because it’s practical for receiving people. You have to be smart enough with the group president to get what you want, ”says a re-elected MoDem deputy. Some are equipped with the bare minimum, while others offer a bathroom and a bed. The site of the Assembly specifies that “242 deputies have the possibility of sleeping in their office”. Not useless when the debates drag on until the end of the night.

Example of a sofa bed in a deputy’s office at the National Assembly – 20minutes

“There is a practical dimension, but once again a lot of prestige. Some offices are reserved for functions, such as the vice-presidencies of the Assembly, or the presidencies of committees close to the hemicycle. For the rest, there is a logic of seniority”, indicates Olivier Rozenberg.

The nicest: an exotic friendship group

Another mission for the deputies: choose the right parliamentary friendship group among the 150 or so existing countries within the hemicycle. The objective of these groups is above all to forge diplomatic ties with the “friendly” country. “It’s a form of parliamentary diplomacy, which can be useful for getting messages across outside official channels. MPs relive foreign delegations or visit these countries,” says Olivier Rozenberg.

We must be bad-tempered, but the deputies within the France-Jamaica friendship group, for example, wouldn’t take the opportunity to scratch a few days in the sun? “I have the impression that it’s a lot of time for not much and that some take advantage of it mainly to do a bit of tourism”, smiles an elected official of the Modem. “It’s really haphazard luck,” adds Alexis Bachelay. Some groups will work well, meet, and travel, but it depends on the news and the investment of the group president, “he says, giving us a little regret. “I could have gone to China several times in this context, but it never came at the right time. I tell myself today that I should have blocked a week to go and visit the country”.

The former socialist deputy gives advice to newcomers. “In 2012, I was part of the batch of newcomers, we got smoked out on everything, facing those who are in their third or fourth term. There is a seniority bonus, the guy who turns up and thinks he is going to take such a prestigious position, we will quickly make him understand that it does not work like that “

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Source: 20minutes

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