Pensions: time to vote on motions of censure, against a backdrop of great tension

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne delivers a speech on pension reform at the National Assembly to confirm the use of article 49.3, in Paris, on March 16, 2023 (AFP/Alain JOCARD)

Double or nothing: the two motions of censure against the government of Elisabeth Borne will be put to the vote on Monday in the National Assembly, and the pension reform could be definitively adopted, despite the anger in the country which does not weaken.

The triggering of the constitutional weapon of 49.3 by the Prime Minister on Thursday to pass the reform without a vote has only redoubled the challenge, which often goes beyond the subject of raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 years old.

In a demonstration in Lille on Sunday evening, David Duthoit, a 54-year-old farmer, said his “political disgust at what is happening in France, 49.3, parliamentarians who do not echo the word of the people”.

Since Thursday, organized or spontaneous gatherings have been taking place throughout the territory, calmly or with overflows.

Emmanuel Macron wants the reform “to be able to go to the end of its democratic journey with respect for all”, the Elysee Palace told AFP on Sunday.

The president recalled the “months of political and social consultation” and the “more than 170 hours of debate which resulted in the vote on a compromise text” between senators and deputies in the joint committee.

The number one of the CGT Philippe Martinez believes that “it is the responsibility” of Emmanuel Macron “if the anger is at these levels”.

The inter-union called for a ninth day of mobilization, this Thursday, while the strike hardened in the refineries and the garbage collectors continued their movement in Paris, Rennes or Nantes.

Demonstrators hold signs expressing their opposition to pension reform in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine), March 17, 2023

Demonstrators hold signs expressing their opposition to the pension reform in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine), March 17, 2023 (AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER)

On Monday, work stoppages by supervisors are feared in high schools, for the first day of the 2023 baccalaureate specialty tests.

The Ministry of Education has made arrangements, and in the event of a delay due to a transport strike, there will be an adjustment of the test time.

– Threshold of 287 votes –

On the side of the Palais Bourbon, it is from 4:00 p.m. that the temperature is likely to rise again. The two motions aimed at overthrowing the government, one transpartisan from the Liot group and the other from the RN, in response to 49.3, will be put to the vote successively at the end of the day.

Co-signed by deputies from Nupes, the Liot motion (Freedoms, Independents Overseas and Territories) is more likely to be voted on by right-wing elected officials unfavorable to pension reform. But the bar of the absolute majority of 287 votes seems difficult to reach.

It would take around thirty LRs, or half of Olivier Marleix’s group, to join their votes with those of the left, the RN and Liot. But the right-wing party has supported the reform and does not want to “add chaos to chaos” by bringing down the government.

Nupes deputies hold signs during Elisabeth Borne's speech confirming the use of 49.3 on the subject of pension reform, in Paris, March 16, 2023

Nupes deputies hold signs during Elisabeth Borne’s speech confirming the use of 49.3 on the subject of pension reform, in Paris, March 16, 2023 (AFP / Alain JOCARD)

A handful of LR deputies, however, indicated that they would vote for the Liot motion or even both motions. Aurélien Pradié, at the forefront among the rebels of the party, will decide on Monday.

“This reform is necessary”, hammered Thursday at the podium Elisabeth Borne, in the front line to carry the campaign project of the president. Under boos and a Marseillaise intoned by the Insoumis, she triggered, for lack of a certain majority, her eleventh 49.3, the most difficult after the series on budgets.

There will be “a vote”, between “those who are for or those who are against the reform”, she then assured, while the deputies will never have voted the whole text.

“It will be a moment of truth” and “clarity”, insisted during the weekend the presidential majority. And the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire to tackle “a clownish hitch” between “Mathilde Panot (LFI), Marine Le Pen (RN) and Charles de Courson (Liot), allies” to “constitute an alternative majority”.

– End of course? –

The probable rejection of the motions will be worth definitive adoption of the reform, before its promulgation by the Head of State in a few weeks a priori.

Police stand in front of the vandalized parliamentary office of Eric Ciotti (LR) in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), March 19, 2023

Police officers stand in front of the vandalized parliamentary office of Eric Ciotti (LR) in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), March 19, 2023 (AFP / Valery HACHE)

The pressures on the Macronist deputies or LR have multiplied, with many parliamentary offices targeted with tags and vengeful inscriptions, and that of Eric Ciotti in Nice stoned in the night from Saturday to Sunday, and tagged with the inscription ” The motion or the pavement”.

Even if the motions are rejected, the left has not said its last word: a referendum of shared initiative is in the pipeline, and appeals to the Constitutional Council are preparing.

For the leader of La France insoumise Jean-Luc Mélenchon, “as long as the reform at 64 is proposed, we must continue” the mobilization.

The presidential camp is in a hurry to turn the page. “Whatever happens, after Monday we will move on”, according to the leader of the Renaissance deputies Aurore Bergé.

An intervention by Emmanuel Macron could take place in the coming days.

© 2023 AFP

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