Constitutional Council, RIP, demonstrations... What scenarios after the adoption of the pension reform?

Since Monday, March 20, the pension reform project has been considered adopted, after the rejection of the two motions of censure filed against the government following its recourse to Article 49

Constitutional Council, RIP, demonstrations... What scenarios after the adoption of the pension reform?

Since Monday, March 20, the pension reform project has been considered adopted, after the rejection of the two motions of censure filed against the government following its recourse to Article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass the text.

Since then, opponents of the reform have launched several initiatives: referrals to the Constitutional Council, request for a shared initiative referendum (RIP), calls for mobilization... While the law has not yet been promulgated by Emmanuel Macron, here are the different possible scenarios for the coming days and weeks.

The unions have made known their determination to continue their showdown with the government. Thus, the CGT called for "amplifying the mobilizations" and "participating massively in the renewable strikes and demonstrations" planned for Thursday, March 23, "and after, if necessary". Spontaneous rallies also took place in several cities in France on Monday evening, notably in Paris, where at least 234 people were arrested after clashes between demonstrators and police.

The "CPE scenario" (first job contract) of 2006 is often mentioned by opponents of the pension reform, and even more with the use of Article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass it. This law, which created a special youth CDI with a two-year trial period, was also adopted with the use of 49.3 by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, then promulgated. But it had been suspended and removed by a new vote, in response to a situation of extreme social tension and very strong protest.

At present, while actions by student unions have taken place since the beginning of the mobilization against the pension reform, none has led to a real mass movement on the part of young people.

The services of the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, announced Monday evening that she would go directly to the Constitutional Council for an examination "as soon as possible" of the text. The National Rally and the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) also filed two appeals. To rule on the conformity of the pension reform project, the Constitutional Council has one month, or eight days, if the government requests an urgent examination. Its referral suspends the promulgation of the law.

According to the opposition, the government has used a legislative vehicle that is not suitable for pension reform, namely a bill for the amending financing of social security (PLFRSS), which makes it possible to rectify during the year the Social Security budget. In their view, certain articles of the text of the reform do not concern either the finances or the Social Security budget.

Questioned by Le Monde, Jean-Philippe Derosier, constitutional expert and professor of public law at the University of Lille, explained:

“(…) There is a question about the constitutionality of borrowing this vehicle to reform pensions. »

The opponents also rely on the opinion of the Council of State which, in a note made confidential, had already alerted the government to the risk of unconstitutionality of certain measures of its reform project, as revealed by Le Monde on February 22.

Some 250 parliamentarians, deputies and senators, mainly from the left, submitted a request for a shared initiative referendum (RIP) to the Constitutional Council on Monday, which will first examine its admissibility. The Constitutional Council has one month to verify, among other things, that its purpose is not to repeal a legislative provision promulgated less than a year ago.

If the Council confirms that the text is admissible, then a period of nine months begins during which the signatures of citizens will be collected. The bill must obtain the support of at least 10% of the voters registered on the electoral rolls, or 4.87 million signatures.

Then the Parliament has six months to examine the bill. If he does not do so, the President of the Republic must submit it to a referendum.

Since its adoption in 2008, no RIP has yet succeeded. A request had been launched in 2020 to challenge the privatization of Paris airports, but the Constitutional Council had found that the necessary threshold for the number of signatures had not been reached.

Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that he did not intend to dissolve the National Assembly, reshuffle the government, or call a referendum on his pension reform to put an end to the protest, participants in a camp meeting told AFP. presidential at the Elysée.

According to information from BFMTV, the dissolution of the Assembly was however a threat brandished by the president, Thursday, March 16. That day, the government finally chose not to put the pension reform to the vote and resorted to article 49.3.

The President is the only one who can dissolve the National Assembly, according to Article 12 of the Constitution. Concretely, this would lead to the end of the mandate of all deputies and the organization of new legislative elections. It is a weapon to which the president can resort in the event of a current or future crisis or institutional blockage.

Since 1958, five dissolutions of the National Assembly have taken place: in 1962 and 1968 by Charles de Gaulle, in 1981 and 1988 by François Mitterrand, and in 1997 by Jacques Chirac.

After the narrow rejection of motions of censure in the National Assembly on Monday, the government appears weakened and on borrowed time.

If the Head of State refuses, in the immediate future, to modify his government team, he spares himself this option in the event of aggravation of the crisis. Among the constitutional weapons in his hands, that of the reshuffle remains the least dangerous for the Head of State. The political crisis opened by 49.3 would even offer him a pretext to breathe new life into a five-year term in lack of oxygen.

Although the pension reform is deemed adopted after the rejection of the two motions of no confidence, it has not yet been signed into law by the president.

In a forum in Le Monde, a group of members of the Pact for the power to live, including Laurent Berger (CFDT), Marie-Aleth Grard (ATD Fourth World), Christophe Robert (Abbé Pierre Foundation) and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (France Terre asylum), calls on Emmanuel Macron not to promulgate the law, so as not to let violence gain society.

“All energies will be needed as long as they are not driven by anger and resentment. So now is the time for appeasement and responsibility. »

Other voices were raised in the same direction, in particular within the group of deputies Freedom, independent, overseas and territories (LIOT), at the origin of one of the motions of censure. Deputy François Ruffin (La France insoumise) also called on the Head of State to "appease the country" by deciding "not to enact" the pension reform.

Guest of Sud Radio on Tuesday, the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, confirmed that once promulgated, the law should come into force on September 1, 2023.