Ai Lillà, near Paris, elected and associations in the blurring before the great debate –


Passed the imposing façade built under the IIIis Republic, calm prevails in the still empty hall of the town hall of Lilas (Seine-Saint-Denis). With the traditional wishes of the mayor and the return meetings of the month of January, however, will be able, from Tuesday, January 15, a new theater whose staging is still waiting. Citizens, elected officials and associations will be invited to become actors in the hot news at the beginning of the year.

The great national debate, announced by the executive in response to the movement of "yellow jackets", will be launched on Tuesday. Everywhere, citizens and elected officials are invited to participate. And the municipalities will have a decisive role to play. In Lilas, a city of 23,000 inhabitants in Seine-Saint-Denis, uncertainty still looms and questions multiply. Who will organize the debates? Where will the exchanges take place? How will the results be tracked at national level?

Faced with these questions, executive responses are slow.

"No information on how to organize and participate was, for the time being, sent to local elected representatives, laments the mayor (PS) of Lilacs, Daniel Guiraud. This is an unprecedented situation, there has not even been a circular prefectice. We know nothing. "

"I'm a little helpless"

The city council, however, ensures that it is ready to ensure the conditions necessary for the good performance of trade. "Once the information is available, we will be able to quickly communicate through the municipal newspaper, the city's website and the posters"Guiraud said, adding that several halls of the town hall or municipal gym could be made available.

The fear of local elected officials derives from the unprecedented and improvised nature of this consultation. "Making participative democracy live, it can not be improvised", recalls Lionel Benharous, deputy responsible for participatory approaches. The lack of information associated with the withdrawal of the President of the National Commission from the public debate, Chantal Jouanno, from the great debate a few days ago, gives the impression of "Continuous improvisation", in the words of the deputy.

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The conditions required to guarantee the success of this "Extensive field consultation"according to Emmanuel Macron, they are perceived as double by Mr. Benharous. On the one hand, it is necessary "Clearly establish the rules of the game" specified in the letter to the French addressed Sunday, December 13 by the president. Dall & # 39; other, "Announces the purpose of the debate clearly" in order to avoid any frustration at the end of the exchanges.

These concerns seem widely shared by representatives of the city community. While Macron is betting on extensive mobilization outside elected officials, the various Lillian associations are still struggling to perceive the purpose of this debate. "I'm a little helpless on the frame", Michel Léon confesses, local representative of the League of human rights, which nevertheless counts "Seize the opportunity" to evoke his themes.

"Serious Infections"

The concern of the associative representatives concerns the nature of the debates. "If it's already played and some topics can not be advanced and discussed, it's not worth taking part"says a local official who prefers to remain anonymous. Marie-Geneviève, local activist for Europe-Ecology Greens, fears that the great debate will be "A way for the government to end the crisis of" yellow jackets ", to drown the fish". A fear shared by Suzanne, a member of the League of human rights and "yellow vest" of the nearby town of Bagnolet, "The debate is not an answer in itself"but I hope "That there will be one at the end".

While Emmanuel Macron has permanently buried the reintegration of the Solidarity Tax on Wealth (ISF), some residents and activists are waiting for answers. "When a great debate is announced in an institutional crisis, we wait for the government to be ready for serious downturns"says Suzanne. In Seine-Saint-Denis, as elsewhere, the "yellow jackets" remain divided on the theme of participation in the debate. While some consider it crucial to seize this opportunity to defend the demands of the movement, others are considering alternative solutions, such as the implementation of "yellow notebooks", similar to the "complaints notebooks" made available in different municipalities, so check directly the conditions of the debate.

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If some "yellow jackets" and civic associations are about to weigh, participation will not be limited to these citizens. "It's an expectation of part of the population that did not make the choice to go out on the streets but has things to say", says Benharous. While seven out of ten French people believe that this great debate will be useless, according to an Odoxa poll published on Friday 11 January, it is impossible to know who will participate in these debates. And how will this new piece of the five-year period of Emmanuel Macron develop.

Thibault Genouville

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