Grégoire de Fournas, a National Rally (RN) deputy, was suspended on Friday, November 4, with “censorship with a temporary exclusion,” which means he would be barred from presenting at the Palais-Bourbon for fifteen days of sessions and will be denied half of his parliamentary allowance for two months.
He is the second deputy to be sanctioned during the Fifth Republic, following the elected linked French Communist Party Maxime Gremetz in March 2011, at the centre of a fight over ministerial automobiles, which he claims were improperly parked.
The suspension was presented unanimously by the National Assembly’s office, which met early in the afternoon and was immediately adopted by a seated and standing vote of the Hemicycle.
MP RN was not present at the time of the voting. His organization spoke out against the sanction, however, there was no reversal of the decision.
The President of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet said, “I appeal to the dignity of our debates, to the rejection of all hatred and all violence, even verbal, and to respect for our values, our fellow citizens and our National Assembly. I will watch over it at all times.”
On Thursday, Mr de Fournas issued a challenge to La France Insoumise (LFI) lawmaker Carlos Martens Bilongo, who is black, saying, “Let him go back to Africa!”
The humanitarian NGO SOS Méditerranée is now transporting 234 migrants in distress and waiting to discharge them in Europe. Mr de Fournas instantly denied any racial aspect, claiming to have spoken of the “boat” and the deputy, elected from Val-d’Oise, in “no case.”
“Given the gravity of the facts” and the “legitimate emotion” elicited by these remarks, the President of the Assembly, Yal Braun-Pivet, almost immediately suspended the session before closing it and declared an urgent convocation of the National Assembly to decide on a possible sanction to be pronounced against the deputy RN.
After the announcement of his sanction, he maintained his position on Twitter, writing, “I am completely innocent of the facts that I am accused of, he wrote there. I feel this sanction of incredible harshness with great injustice. But respectful of the institution, I submit to it.”