Royal compared to Mao for 'citizen juries' idea

23rd October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 23, 2006 (AFP) - Ségolène Royal, the Socialist frontrunner in France's presidential race, was accused of populism Monday for suggesting that members of parliament should be made to appear at regular intervals before "citizens' juries".

PARIS, Oct 23, 2006 (AFP) - Ségolène Royal, the Socialist frontrunner in France's presidential race, was accused of populism Monday for suggesting that members of parliament should be made to appear at regular intervals before "citizens' juries".

Speaking at a conference in Paris Sunday, Royal said she regretted "there is no on-going evaluation of the role of elected deputies."

The constitution should therefore be changed "in order to clarify the way in which deputies can be made to justify their record at regular intervals before citizens' juries drawn by lot which would evaluate the politicians," she said.

This would "put in place popular surveillance of the way in which deputies carry out their mandate."

Max Gallo, best-selling historian and former government spokesman under Socialist president François Mitterrand, said the expression "citizens' juries" reminded him of the excesses of Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

"The phrase 'citizens' juries drawn by lot' worries me deeply," Gallo told Le Figaro newspaper.

"We are getting into a kind of populist blur. If I were to be excessive, I would say that at the end-point of this — apparent — realisation of democracy you get the cultural revolution of Chairman Mao."

"He wanted professors and all representatives to be judged by the people, represented by militants who come to judge and condemn those who have been elected," he said.

According to Gallo, "We have yet to find a better way in democracies for deputies to justify their record than the principal of universal suffrage carried out at intervals set down in the law."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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