Who will preside defence committee?

In the wake of the parliamentary upheaval underway in France, it is to be hoped that among the hundreds of new deputies who will be taking their seats in the National Assembly for the first time in their lives next week, there will be some not only interested in questions of national defence and the armed forces, but, above all, who are a little knowledgeable about the subject!

Here at FOB we have analysed the election results for the 72 members of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the outgoing legislature and they are devastating: out of the 33 parliamentarians who were standing (39 others chose not to run for a new term) only 20 have made it into the second round of the legislative elections which will be held next Sunday (17 June). Of these there are only eight, yes, eight, who are in a leading position, the other 12 being in great difficulty in second place with little chance of winning.

Amongst the big losers were Committee President Patricia Adam, who was soundly beaten in her 2nd riding (“circonscription“) of Finistère and Philippe Nauche, the only one of the four vice-presidents who was running. Both paid the price of the collapse of the Socialist Party.

So, who among the eight could preside over the next committee, given that one can hardly imagine this position being given to someone with no knowledge of how parliament functions?

Among these eight, there are two who are with President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République en Marche: Gwendal Rouillard, who was one of the committee secretaries and Jean-Jacques Bridey. We think it highly likely that one of these two will be head this committee. Bridey was the rapporteur for an information mission on the industrial and technological issues involved in the renewal of the two components of deterrence. He was also a member of an information mission on the consequences of the rhythm of overseas operations on the maintenance of materiels in operational condition, as well as the author of opinions on finance laws. Rouillard, for his part, was a member of two fact-finding missions, one on the role of the national navy in the Mediterranean and the other on the evolution and role of NATO, as well as the author of opinions on the 2017 finance law.

Two other candidates have the stature for this post: Manuel Valls, former prime minister, and François de Rugy, an environmentalist and former candidate on the left in the presidential primaries, but neither are members of En Marche, even if they are “compatible”.

The remaining four are unlikely to win the presidency of the committee because they are members of different parties: Philippe Folliot, a secretary of the commission (this is obviously a lucky job!) is in good shape to keep his seat but he is a member of the UDI as is Maurice Leroy. Sylvia Pinel is a member of the Left Radical Party and Thierry Solère of the Republicans.

Below is a complete list of the 72 members of the outgoing commission. We have crossed out the names of those who were beaten in the first round. A crossed out name, followed by “PR” means “did not run”. The word “ballotage” (run-off) in pink means that the person is in a leading position, in red that s/he is in second place.