Reshuffle, dissolution, promise of better days: Emmanuel Macron, who will have to address the French after the pension fiasco, only has "bad solutions at his disposal", say experts.
He finds himself confronted with a political and social crisis, with a more limited margin of rebound than during the Yellow Vests, for lack of majority and capital for renewal after six years of exercise of power.
By activating article 49.3 of the Constitution to force through the pension reform, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is playing double or nothing: if the motions of censure tabled Friday by the opposition are rejected, the reform will be considered adopted. If one of them is passed, the government falls.
In view of the arithmetic in the Assembly, the vote of a motion of censure, which requires an absolute majority of seats, or 287 votes, seems unlikely.
It would take, in addition to the votes of the National Rally and the Nupes, that 25 to 30 deputies The Republicans, or almost half of the group, vote it, a bar which seems very high even if this group has deprived the executive of a majority on the text of the retreats.
After the cold shower of 49.3 and the spectacle of a powerless Prime Minister in the Assembly, her voice covered by boos and the Marseillaise sung in the bays of the opposition, the greatest caution seems however in order. “On the motion, we are not sure of having a rejection, it will be complicated”, estimates an adviser to the executive.
With these seven minutes of intense tension around Elisabeth Borne at the Assembly, "we witnessed one of the most important events of the Fifth Republic in terms of images. We cannot recover from it as easily," said political scientist Bruno Cautrès.
The Prime Minister, who carried the reform, appears very weakened, if not suspended.
"The least risky for the Head of State and the most likely to give him a new impetus is the change of Prime Minister", advances Bruno Cautrès, while considering that "it cannot be done under pressure ".
"We must not release Borne after the motion of censure, we must not show our weaknesses, we must continue to move forward", adds an adviser to the executive.
For political scientist Brice Teinturier, "even in the event of a change of Prime Minister, if the line remains the same, it will not change anything for the French".
The potential suitors are biding their time, from the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin to that of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, in passing both defectors from the LR.
The Head of State can also opt for a more radical scenario, the dissolution of the Assembly, to start again on new bases.
“When you are at this point in a cycle of unpopularity and rejection of a major reform, it is almost suicidal”, however believes Brice Teinturier, pointing to the risk of an even narrower majority.
But to continue without an absolute majority, "it will still be difficult", with opposition tempted by a permanent "guerrilla", he adds. "In fact he has only bad solutions at his disposal".
After having left Elisabeth Borne in the front line, distilling only a few messages by entourage interposed at the most critical moments, the president will have to break his silence.
No date, nor any format - speech or interview - has yet been communicated. But the window promises to be narrow in the coming days, between the vote on the censure motion, probably Monday, and the European summit on Thursday and Friday.
"He will undoubtedly make Macron, that is to say a very beautiful speech on TV with a lot of solemnity", anticipates Bruno Cautrès, for whom, over time, these speeches lose "effectiveness" .
According to one of the executive advisers quoted, it will be necessary "to turn around, the time that the mobilization dwindles" - by the spring break he hopes - then come out with "a few priorities".
The Head of State is already preparing for other subjects, health, education, immigration, which are more likely to convince the French, as well as an ambitious institutional reform.
03/17/2023 18:17:17 - Paris (AFP) - © 2023 AFP