By Ali Ihsan Aydin, Paris

Zaman, Turkey
May 19 2006

The most important role played in the dropping of the motion to
penalize those who deny the so-called Armenian genocide in France
yesterday was undertaken by Parliamentary Speaker Jean Louis Debre,
a close friend of President Jacques Chirac.

Though not customary, Debre took the decision of directing the session
where the draft was discussed.

It is very rare for parliamentary speakers in France to chair the
sessions where motions brought by the opposition are discussed.

Debre gave the deputies discussing the first item of the session the
unlimited right to speak, which diminished the time remaining.

He twice allotted a break to ease the tensions that rose because
of this.

In the statement he made after the session, Debre said, "We can
write the history of neither France nor its relationships among other
nations," and repeated once again that he is against the bill.

Meanwhile, there was no consensus among the parties for the passing
of the motion, as was the case in 2001.

The majority of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) opposed
the motion, and opposing voices also rose from the Socialist Party
(PS) that put forth the bill.

The PS must also use its next "right to determine the agenda" for
the motion to reach the parliamentary agenda again, which would be
possible only in November.

Officials from PS and Armenian associations cite the draft will come
to the general assembly again in the fall.

That the draft bill is still on the agenda should not be considered
a victory. Even the Armenian associations, the architects of the
project, did not expect the bill to pass in the first attempt. We
watched the session together with Alexis Govciyan, Chairman of the
Coordination Council of the Armenian Organizations of France, who
foresaw the delay of the bill until November.

The law suggesting "France openly recognizes 1915 Armenian Genocide"
was enacted over four years, even with compromise by the parties.

Today's bill that was prepared and presented by Socialist deputy
Didier Migaud in 1998 was not on the senate's agenda for a long time,
though it was passed unanimously.

Upon these developments, a group of senators presented the bill as
a new proposal to the senate and requested an urgent negotiation.

Thus, the bill passed by the senate was easily approved.

Armenians we interviewed are confident that the passage of the new
bill will be more difficult.

The reactions of historians and division among the parties head the
list of reasons. Their biggest gains stand to be the presidential
and general elections.