What does the law provide if something happens to Emmanuel Macron in kyiv?

After having made the suspense last for a long time, Emmanuel Macron took a night train on Wednesday evening to Ukraine. A risky trip to a country at war, which he is not the first French president to do. On June 27 and 28, 1992, François Mitterrand made a surprise visit to Sarajevo, besieged by the Serbs, during the war in Bosnia. If at the time the Serbs had operated a ceasefire the time of his visit, this was not the case in Ukraine during the visit of the UN Secretary General to kyiv in April, taken under Russian bombings.

This Thursday, accompanied by the German chancellor Olaf Scholz and the head of the Italian government Mario Draghi), the French president stopped in kyiv before joining the martyred city of Irpin. And in the Ukrainian capital, the warning sirens sounded six times, which proves that the president’s trip is not without risk. What does the Constitution of the fifth provide for not leaving the country without a captain? 20 minutes has put his nose in the articles of law and explains everything to you.

Who would take over in the event of an incident?

Russian missiles have been fired at Ukrainian cities on a daily basis since the beginning of the conflict and at the beginning of June, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that nearly 500 Ukrainians were injured every day. If Emmanuel Macron was, for example, hit by a gunshot and had to be hospitalized or if he had to take refuge and there was no news of him for a few days, Article 21 of the Constitution provides that it is up to the Prime Minister to “replace” him, that is to say to put himself in his place. This mission would therefore fall to Elisabeth Borne who would thus be responsible for chairing the Council of Ministers or even the higher councils and committees of National Defense.

Who replaces the president in the event of death?

On the government website, it is indicated that in the event of the death of the President of the Republic, “the interim of the presidential functions is entrusted to the President of the Senate”. It is therefore the president of the Republicans Gérard Larcher who would take power ad interim, until the election of a new president. However, the Constitution provides that the latter does not have access to all of the functions of the President of the Republic. According to article 7the interim president cannot submit a bill to referendum, nor pronounce the dissolution of the National Assembly.

Have these scenarios ever occurred in the past?

If this was not the case for François Mitterrand, other presidents of the Fifth Republic have already been replaced for varying lengths of time. For example, when Jacques Chirac suffered a stroke in 2005 and was hospitalized for nearly a week, it was his Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin who took over.

Another notable example is that of President Georges Pompidou. When the latter died of cancer in 1974, his presidency still ran for two years. It is the President of the Senate Alain Poher who then occupies the presidential functions for nearly two months before the organization of a new ballot which will see Valéry Giscard d’Estaing access the Elysée.

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