After two months of parliamentary battle and protest in the street, Emmanuel Macron and Elisabeth Borne took the decision to resort to 49.3 to have this very unpopular reform adopted without a vote. After noting that a majority on this text in the National Assembly was very uncertain, the Prime Minister announced that her government would be held responsible for this emblematic reform of Macron's second five-year term, in front of a hemicycle in turmoil.
“We cannot take the risk of seeing the compromise, built by the two Assemblies, discarded. We cannot bet on the future of our pensions, "tried to justify the head of Matignon who will be invited to the" 20 hours "of TF1. "In a few days, I have no doubt, the government's commitment to responsibility will be answered by one or more motions of censure. A vote will therefore take place, as it should. And it is therefore parliamentary democracy that will have the last word,” added Elisabeth Borne.
Four meetings were held in less than twenty-four hours at the Elysée around Emmanuel Macron to decide whether the government would commit to 49.3 or submit this text to a vote. The president justified his choice by invoking "too great financial risks" that a rejection would have involved. “My political interest and my political will was to go to the vote. Among you all, I am not the one who is risking his place or his seat,” he said during an extraordinary cabinet meeting, according to one participant.
“There will be a vote on the text. It is provided for by our institutions. It's the motion of censure. We can't play with the future of the country, "he said, according to this participant. As authorized by the Constitution, the oppositions have already announced motions of censure to try to bring down the government and therefore derail the reform.
"Nothing is over"
The announcement of the use of 49.3 unsurprisingly caused the opposition to react strongly, especially on the left. "Nothing is over," warned the leader of the rebellious deputies, Mathilde Panot. The latter mentioned a "transpartisan censure motion", but also an upcoming referral to the Constitutional Council by the Nupes and a shared initiative referendum "which makes it possible to block the reform for nine months".
“When a president has no majority in the country, no majority in the National Assembly, he must withdraw his project. The Elysée is not a park to shelter the whims of the president,” launched the first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure. "We still have hope, in the weeks and months to come, of defeating this reform regardless of the humiliations that the president will have inflicted on parliament," added the national secretary of the Communist Party, Fabien Roussel.
Present at a rally organized at Place de la Concodre after the announcement of 49.3, Jean-Luc Mélenchon observed a "collapse of the presidential minority". According to him, after this "spectacular failure", the social movement has "a good chance of having the last word". "We are facing a text not adopted in the forms of a parliamentary democracy," insisted the rebellious leader, as the demonstration gained momentum.
"It is for the executive a triple defeat: popular, moral and political"
On the union side, Laurent Berger warns: "there will be new mobilizations". The secretary general of the CFDT, who denounces a "democratic vice", adds that "the challenge is extremely strong, we already have a lot of reactions from the union teams. We will decide together in an inter-union ”, which will be held Thursday evening at the headquarters of the CGT in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).
The secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez echoed him by saying that "the mobilization and the strikes must be amplified". “The mobilization of citizens under the impetus of trade unions did not allow the President of the Republic to have a majority to pass his law. The forced passage with the use of 49.3 must find an answer to the height of this contempt of the people, "he wrote in a message.
For the president of the CFTC, Cyril Chabanie, the use of 49.3 is not "legitimate", he denounces a "denial of social democracy". “By using 49.3, the president is choosing to respond to a social crisis with democratic weakening. This is a triple defeat for the executive: popular, moral and political. Unsa will not let it happen, ”tweeted the secretary general of Unsa, Laurent Escure.
Elisabeth Borne "cannot stay at Matignon"
Marine Le Pen announced for her part that she would table a motion of censure against the government. “We hope that those who were about to vote against this pension reform will vote for this motion of censure. “, added the president of the National Rally (RN) group in the National Assembly, which has 88 deputies.
The unsuccessful three-time presidential candidate felt that the use of 49.3 "is an acknowledgment of total failure for Emmanuel Macron", as well as an "extraordinary admission of weakness" from the government. According to her, Elisabeth Borne "cannot stay" in Matignon. "She has to go. Staying would be seen as an additional slap in the face of the French people,” added Marine Le Pen, considering the situation to be one of “political crisis.”
For days, Macronist strategists had been busy trying to find out if they had a majority of deputies, with all the counts showing extremely little room for maneuver. The Senate, for its part, unsurprisingly confirmed Thursday morning its vote in favor of the reform by 193 votes against 114.