Can one wear the veil – or any other conspicuous religious symbol – and preside over a polling station? Obviously no. This is the meaning of the incident and then of the decision that took place during the first round of regional and departmental elections, Sunday, June 20, in Vitry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne). That day, Rachida Kabbouri, municipal councilor Europe Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV) of the city, chairs office 15 of the Jean-Jaurès school. She is dressed, as she is used to, in a scarf which covers her hair.
At least one voter is moved by it, as she recounted in the Parisian : “A woman walked into the office of which I was the president. She insulted me, calling me an Islamist because I was wearing a headscarf. “ The world tried unsuccessfully to reach the chosen one. It is therefore impossible to know if this type of incident has occurred several times during the day.
Alerted, the prefecture of Val-de-Marne, guarantor of the smooth running of the elections throughout the department, decides to react. “The presidency of the polling stations is the responsibility of the mayor who acts, on election days, as the representative of the State. He has the power to delegate to his deputies, but the obligation of neutrality imposed on him by the electoral code and the general code of local authorities is also imposed on his representatives ”, we estimate at the prefecture. The “neutrality” invoked by the prefecture prohibits any political as well as religious sign: a kippah or even a cross that is ostensibly too large are therefore also prohibited.
Replaced by an assessor
The prefect then asked the mayor of Vitry-sur-Seine to raise Mr.me Kabbouri from her post as president and to have her replaced by the oldest assessor present. “The assessors are not bound to this neutrality”, we specify at the prefecture. This is how Jordan Bardella, the head of the National Rally (RN) list, posted a photo of him signing the attendance list under the gaze of a veiled woman in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint- Denis), Sunday June 20.
Faced with the avalanche of Islamophobic comments, the PS mayor of Saint-Denis, Mathieu Hanotin reacted with a message on social networks in which he stressed that religious neutrality is not required for assessors and concluded: “What has no place in our democracy is not that a woman who wears the veil participates in the good conduct of the elections but rather this unbearable discourse which consists in waving the flag of secularism to better stigmatize one religion or another. “
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