in the Senate, the debates anesthetized after the government’s “coup de force”

in the Senate, the debates anesthetized after the government’s “coup de force”

Olivier Dussopt, the Minister of Labor, during current questions to the government, in the Senate, in Paris, March 8, 2023.

Will the pension reform be legitimized by a vote in the Senate? In the absence of final deliberation on the text in the National Assembly, the stakes are crucial for the government, two days before the end of the debates at the Luxembourg Palace, scheduled for Sunday March 12 at midnight.

To achieve this, the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, announced on Friday March 10 in the Hemicycle the use of Article 44 paragraph 3 of the Constitutiontriggering the procedure of single vote… And about thirty points of order. There remained then more than a thousand amendments mainly from the left on this bill for the amending financing of Social Security.

However, the effect was immediate: only a favorable speaker, the rapporteurs of the text and then the minister can now speak in the Hemicycle on the remaining amendments. Another consequence is that elected officials can no longer vote on any amendment or table one. Senators will now only be able to vote on the entire text modified by the 70 amendments retained by the government and those already adopted in session.

Read also: Pension reform, live: update on the situation after the “blocked vote” by the government in the Senate

By using the most binding constitutional article on the Senate, the government wanted to get rid of “methodical obstruction” socialist, communist and ecologist senators, in the words of Olivier Dussopt, accusing them of wanting “prevent the Senate from deciding on the entire text. »

On the ninth day of discussions at the Luxembourg Palace, the procedural battle between the senatorial majority and the left has reached its peak. “In twenty years, I have never experienced this type of obstruction. Everything has been used, absolutely everything”sighs, the president of the Les Républicains (LR) group, Bruno Retailleau, before listing “requests for report, identical amendments and above all the machine for producing sub-amendments” during the debates.

Procedural escalation

The right and left senators had however agreed to a review of article 7, on the decline of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, after the social mobilization of March 7. But this non-aggression pact was shattered once the first amendments were discussed on the measure.

During the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, the session degenerated when Bruno Retailleau resorted, for the first time, to article 38 of the rules which provides for the closure of debates on an amendment after two contrary opinions. This decision causes the departure of the Hemicycle of the left senators and the suspension of the session.

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