Pension reform: Macron overrides National Assembly vote

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Pension reform: Macron ignores the vote of the National Assembly

French President Emmanuel Macron has chosen to use Article 49.3 of the French Constitution, which allows him to pass a bill without submitting it to the vote of the National Assembly.

Emmanuel Macron chose at the last moment to play the test of strength and to engage the responsibility of his government on Thursday to pass without a vote in the Assembly his decried pension reform project in France, a thunderclap that could revive social protest.

I hold my government responsible for the entire bill, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said, raising her voice to overcome the boos and mockery of opposition MPs. white-hot.

The unions will meet in the evening to decide on new mobilizations. And hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Place de la Concorde waving flags or symbols of left-wing parties and trade unions, with many police blocking the bridge leading to the National Assembly.

Thursday was D-Day for this crucial reform for the political credibility of Emmanuel Macron during his second term.

At the height of uncertainty, the government assembled a council of ministers just before the start of a decisive parliamentary session during which the deputies were to vote.

The French National Assembly

This Council of Ministers authorized the government to use Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows a bill to be passed without submitting it to vote, engaging the responsibility of the government.

So far, Emmanuel Macron had made it known that he did not want to use it and that he preferred to have the deputies vote, while his coalition does not have an absolute majority in the election. National Assembly and had to count on the votes of the deputies of the traditional right-wing party, Les Républicains (LR).

But after countless negotiations, feverish calculations and multiple crisis meetings, the executive considered that going to the vote was too risky on this project which raises the retirement age from 62 to 64.

< p class="e-p">Uncertainty hangs over a few voices, said Ms. Borne at the podium, above the hullabaloo, denouncing the excesses and attacks, the excesses of some and reversals of others in the face of the reform project, resulting according to her from & #x27;a compromise.

According to one of the participants in the Council of Ministers, Emmanuel Macron judged that the financial and economic risks were too great in the event of rejection of the text.

The use of 49.3 is a reverse in the opinion of many political commentators.

Mass protests continue across the country since bill to increase retirement age tabled by the Macron government.

All the tenors of the opposition castigated this decision.

Parliament will have been flouted and humiliated until the end, denounced the leader of the Communist deputies, Fabien Roussel.

This is a fact of life. total failure of this government […] and for Emmanuel Macron, said the leader of the extreme right (Rassemblement national, RN), Marine Le Pen.

The government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is now exposed to various motions of censure which will be tabled by various opposition parties.

The deputies of the presidential coalition have a relative majority, and it would be necessary that the deputies, from the extreme left to the extreme right, agree to put the government in the minority and that LR votes them too .

While the RN has said it will vote on all motions wherever they come from, Republican President Eric Ciotti has warned that his party would vote for none, which seems to remove the risk of the government being disavowed.

However, a sling is not to be excluded, the deputy LR Aurélien Pradié explaining for example that he was going to ask himself the question during the weekend to vote for a motion tabled by a small centrist parliamentary group.

Ms Le Pen announced that she would table a motion of censure for her party, as did Julien Bayou, an ecologist deputy from the left-wing Nupes coalition, who announced that ;a cross-partisan motion of censure was about to be tabled.

This may be the first time a motion of no confidence can effectively overthrow the government, he said, accusing the latter of being prepared to put the country on fire.

“The 49.3 in the imagination of the French is synonymous with brutality; it's the feeling that the government is not listening. »

— Antoine Bristielle, Director of the Observatory of Opinion, Jean-Jaurès Foundation

In the street, this will give a second wind to mobilization, anticipates- he.

Obviously there will be new mobilizations, because the protest is extremely strong, reacted the leader of the CFDT union Laurent Berger.

Demonstrators against the pension reform in Nice, January 31, 2023

Since January 19, hundreds of thousands of French people have demonstrated, on eight occasions, to express their refusal of this reform, against a background of renewable strikes, like that of the Parisian garbage collectors.

The sidewalks of the French capital, one of the most touristic cities in the world, are thus covered in places with mountains of smelly trash cans.

Opponents of this reform consider it unfair. The various opinion polls show that the French are mostly hostile to it, even if the number of demonstrators and strikers has stagnated or declined over time.

The French government has chose to raise the legal retirement age to respond to a financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population.

France is the one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, without the pension systems being completely comparable.

France has a system [. ..] which is not viable, said Thursday the Spanish Socialist Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escriva.

According to him, failing to have addressed the problem in time and having done it as we did, it must now take an approach […] that generates social resistance.

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