Which ballot will you put in the ballot box this Sunday? A few days before the first round of the parliamentary elections, the Agir pour l’environnement association has just unveiled a valuable tool that could help guide the choice of citizens concerned about preserving the planet. With the ParliamentTerre project, the association has drawn up a ranking of outgoing deputies, from the greenest to the least involved in protecting the environment. And the result reveals some surprises…
On June 12 and 19, 2022, citizens are invited to go to the polls to choose their deputies. While the abstention rate for these elections continues to rise year on year – 57% abstain in the second round in 2017 – Agir pour l’Environnement wanted to inform them of their choice. The ParlemenTerre project takes stock of the ecology of outgoing delegates, all trends together, during the 5 years of their mandate (2017-2022). Valuable data in the constituencies where MPs stand for re-election.
For this, the association identified and examined the results of 17 votes under five laws: ban on glyphosate, reauthorization of neonicotinoid insecticides, abolition of tax aid for palm oil, abolition of tax aid on kerosene for domestic flights, free public transport , relaunch of night trains, load of nitrogen fertilizers…
“We don’t claim that the tool scans all amendments, but it does give an indication of how the deputy of his constituency votes, explains Mathias Kapelaan, Coordinator of Action for the Environment campaigns at the cradle of the project. † Because there is a big problem of transparency on the site of the National Assembly. It is very difficult to access the detailed results of the votes to know who is voting for what. There is no real traceability of all the votes of a deputy.
A first for the association, which ultimately hopes to make this ranking an annual event. A way to involve parliamentarians and provide citizens with information that is currently almost inaccessible.
“We tried to pick voices that made sense. Amendments that really deliver, that are not caricatured or exaggerated and that have been supported by civil society, NGOs, trade unions… We also tried to study amendments from all sides, we were not sectarian”specifies the author of the project.
An unsurprising stage
The points system is simple: every vote for an amendment or a law that advances the ecology or against an amendment or an environmentally harmful law earns the Member of Parliament one point. Conversely, a vote for a text that is harmful to the planet causes him to lose a point. And it is Delphine Batho, former Minister of Ecology of the Dutch government who takes the lead in the ranking, together with Mathilde Panot, chairman of the LFI group, followed by Dominique Potier, member of the socialist group and former farmer.
The first thirty elected members of the ranking are mainly part of the opposition, Mathias Kapelaan notes: Socialist Party, Communist Party, LFI, EELV… “It confirmed what we generally thought”he confides.
On the side of the “dunces”, on the other hand, the program manager is surprised to find the LREM deputy of the Rhone Jean-Luc Fugit in the bottom three of the ranking. “At first glance, he seemed committed. He is a member of the Sustainable Development Commission, of the National Air Council. In his communication over the past five years, he seemed very mobilized on environmental issues and sustainable development. We were surprised to find him at the end of the ranking, it was discovered that he had systematically voted against all ecological progress.”complains Mathias Chaplain.
Another surprise and not the least: the current Minister for Ecological Transition, Amélie de Montchalin, is in 595th place. However, the author of the ranking, although she voted against the ban on glyphosate, tempers this position in light of other factors. Indeed, her appointment as Civil Service Minister in 2019 prevented her from taking part in a certain number of votes, hence her score.
Failure that plagues democracy
In addition to the lack of transparency about the votes of delegates, ParlemenTerre makes another edifying observation: the abstentions are overwhelming within the National Assembly.
“Of the 17 votes surveyed, we established the presence of 87 deputies (note: the National Assembly has a total of 577 elected officials). That is a participation rate of about 15%, which is very low. And we are talking about the most important laws of the quinquennium, not about a parliamentary niche… It is distressing for democracy and for the proper functioning of institutions”, regrets Mathias Kapelaan.
While issues related to climate, transport or agriculture mobilize the citizens, the delegates, they avoid the conference room when it comes to voting. Absenteeism that probably explains why it is so difficult to bring voters together during parliamentary elections, explains the initiator of ParlemenTerre:
“There is a mass of deputies who do not work on the laws and only follow the voting instructions of their parliamentary group without trying to go further in the study of the texts. However, it is for this that they (so!) are chosen and compensated. They are supposed to meet the actors involved… It is shocking to many citizens and it does not encourage people to go to the polls.”
Want to know your MP’s score? Visit the ParlemenTerre website to discover its arrangement.