Strasbourg: we summarize why Monday’s city council ended in blood sausage

This is not the first time that the hemicycle of the Strasbourg city council has been the scene of heated exchanges between the majority and the opposition.
This is not the first time that the hemicycle of the Strasbourg city council has been the scene of heated exchanges between the majority and the opposition. (©Screenshot)

Monday January 30, 2023, all opposition groups and elected officials decided to prematurely leave the hemicycle of the municipal council of Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin).

Shortly before, the majority refused to put a resolution to the vote supported by the opposition municipal councilor, Pierre Jakubowicz.

The two camps dispute the interpretation of the rules of procedure on this subject.

The majority announces its wish not to vote on a resolution

It is already past 8 p.m. when Syamak Agha Babaei, first deputy mayor of Strasbourg, announces the examination of a resolution carried by Pierre Jakubowicz (Horizons), entitled “Reopening museums, a priority”. This refers to the decision of the executive, in 2022, to close museums managed by the City two days a week instead of just once.

But, even before the floor is given to the elected opposition member, Mr. Agha Babaei warns: “ We are not going to put this resolution to a votefor a simple reason, because we are going to present, in a few days, in connection with the trade unions after discussion, a modification of the opening hours which take into account the investigation which was carried out with the agents”.

The first assistant will add later: “The heart of this resolution leads to undermine the work currently being carried out with the trade union organizations and to make announcements that do not take into account the discussions that are taking place”.

Mrs. Barseghian will complete by saying: “ [Ce que propose cette résolution] will be arbitrated in a few days, so it would make no sense for our municipal council to decide to say something that we could unsay in a few days or a few weeks or that would anticipate debates that have not yet taken place with the agents and the unions since we are moving towards final arbitration”.

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The opposition denounces a breach of the rules

The opposition, for its part, sees this as a violation of the rules of procedure.

Alain Fontanel (Renaissance) explains: “In the half-day preceding the municipal council, we had a meeting of group presidents during which we examined the agenda. The inclusion of this text on the agenda was confirmed by the Mayor of Strasbourg, it was never mentioned that there was no voteso there is a problem of method. […] I remind you that at the opening of the meeting, the mayor gave the agenda and never mentioned the possibility that this resolution would not be put to the vote. I think there is a malfunction: it is on the agenda, I think it must be put to the vote”.

Same story on the side of the main interested party, Pierre Jakubowicz: “I am also surprised at the way of doing things. We have already had fierce debates during previous councils on whether or not to allow the vote, but when there was a refusal to put the resolution of the day to the vote, it was always clearly indicated at the meeting of the presidents. group, and, on reading the agenda, the mayor always indicated that she would vote for a motion to dismiss on the point. Today, when reading the agenda, the mayor did not at any time specify that she would vote for a motion to dismiss […] “.

“You are right to say that this morning at the meeting of group presidents, I said the resolutions that had been tabled and that would be examined, but I did not position myself on the question of the vote, I should probably have do this morning”, conceded the mayor of Strasbourg, hammering that there was, however, “no desire to hide anything”.

dialogue of the deaf

In short, to sum up: the opposition asks that the resolution be read and voted on, while the majority opposes it since the arbitrations which concern it will be taken in the coming days/weeks.

The mayor of Strasbourg also recalled that “this resolution proposes something that falls within the decision of the executive” and has several times proposed to Mr. Jakubowicz to read it. A vote on the “proposal for referral to the plenary committee of March 13, 2022 of the examination of the resolution presented by Mr Jakubowicz” was organized and a majority voted in favor.

After two adjournments requested by the opposition, and after it was again proposed to read its resolution, Pierre Jakubowicz has finally decided to leave the hemicyclerefusing to participate in what he considers to be a “parody of democracy”. He was followed shortly after by Anne-Pernelle Richardot and her group Faire Strasbourg ensemble.

Although after these departures the quorum was still respected, and that therefore the municipal council could continue, the mayor of Strasbourg preferred to put an end to it, declaring that she did not think “it was not possible to continue the session without the presence of the opposition “. “I am like you attached to the possibility of leading a democratic and contradictory debate. I would like it to be as peaceful as possible, even if that is not always the case. I regret and deplore what just happened. I think it shows us the need to have in-depth work on the rules of procedure, ”she said.

A “collective work around the rules of procedure” planned

In the evening, the majority and the opposition continued to tear each other apart through press releases, the second speaking of “censorship” while the first “appeals to the responsibility of all the municipal councilors so that the democratic debates calm down and regain serenity necessary for quality exchanges”. In this same text, the mayor of Strasbourg announces her desire to “bring together the representatives of the various political groups in the coming days to initiate collective work around the rules of procedure”.

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Strasbourg: we summarize why Monday’s city council ended in blood sausage