More than ever at the mercy of the voices of the right, Emmanuel Macron called on Monday for the "responsibility" of the oppositions three days before a suspense ballot in the National Assembly on his pension reform, which will largely determine following his five-year term.
Social mobilization in the face of the project seems to be running out of steam, especially in transport, but it now has particularly unpleasant consequences in several cities: heaps of garbage litter the streets, 5,600 tonnes of waste not collected in Paris alone.
The Head of State was invited on Monday, which is extremely rare, at the start of the weekly coordination meeting of the executives of the presidential camp.
"This reform is an absolute necessity for the financing of our pensions and the solidity of the country", he hammered, according to several participants. "We must carry this discourse and appeal to the responsibility of the oppositions which could vote for the reform", he added.
After the adoption of the text in the Senate on Saturday evening, the final parliamentary sequence will open on Wednesday with the convening of a joint joint committee (CMP), bringing together elected officials from both chambers.
If there is agreement on a compromise text on the reform, it will be submitted Thursday to the Senate and then to the National Assembly, where the government is far from sure of having a majority.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne dismisses at this stage the use of Article 49.3 of the Constitution which allows for the passage by force, without a vote of the Assembly, because it is often seen as "brutal" or "undemocratic".
"Today, we do not see why we should use it", commented Gabriel Attal, Minister Delegate for Public Accounts. "If everyone is consistent with the commitments, the statements he made before the French (...) there is a majority to vote for the text."
To be forced to use this article would be perceived as a devastating political sign, likely to stir up social tensions. Especially since, on this very controversial reform which lowers the retirement age from 62 to 64, the government has already chosen to limit the debate in Parliament to 50 days and to draw from the Senate a tool allowing it to single vote on the entire text.
In this flammable context, the hunt for votes remains crucial for the executive.
In the presidential camp, "if we lacked it, it would be truly anecdotal", assured Olivier Véran.
But uncertainty still reigned over the choice of several Les Républicains deputies, the right-wing party counting on around fifteen votes against.
"At LR, there is the desire to go to 49.3. That way they would hit the fragility of the government again, would show that they are pivots more than ever", notes a majority deputy.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire put pressure on his former party. “It would be lunar to have a party which votes a text in the Senate and which does not vote it in the National Assembly”, he underlined on franceinfo.
In the end, for Renaissance MP Eric Woerth, 49.3 would be "not an admission of weakness" but "an admission of realism and pragmatism".
It would be a "terrible admission of failure of this government", on the contrary warned the president of the environmental group in the Senate, Guillaume Gontard; the boss of the CFDT Laurent Berger, denouncing him "a form of democratic vice".
"To me, that would seem delusional to me," said Marine Le Pen, leader of the deputies of the National Rally. She added that her group would table a motion of censure in the event of recourse to 49.3 and would vote "all" of the other motions of censure.
Massively hostile to the reform, the French are convinced that it will be voted on and applied, according to the latest polls.
On the social front, an eighth day of mobilization is scheduled for Wednesday throughout France, while the last Saturday attracted fewer people.
Train traffic is "significantly improving", but remains disrupted on most lines, said SNCF management. It will be again on Tuesday.
The strike continues in several refineries, in particular that of Esso-ExxonMobil in Fos-sur-Mer and PétroIneos in Lavera (Bouches-du-Rhône), as well as in the facilities of the TotalEnergies group.
03/13/2023 20:14:34 - Paris (AFP) - © 2023 AFP