Suspense to the end on the fate of the pension reform

Suspense to the end on the fate of the pension reform

“Hour by hour, step by step. This is an expression that has constantly returned in recent days in the corridors of power regarding the course of the pension reform bill . On the course and especially at its end this Thursday. Because until the end, the suspense remains immense.

Positive point for the government, which was hardly in doubt after the intense negotiations of the beginning of the week and in view of the political forces present: the joint joint commission (CMP) which brought together this Wednesday deputies and senators agreed on a common text. It took up most of the demands of the senatorial majority (surcharge, restricted senior CDI, review, etc.) but also and above all the amendment of the president of the LR group in the National Assembly, Olivier Marleix, on long careers. A crucial point.

“Through this compromise, they are responding to the request of the French to build solutions for the country together”, welcomed the head of government Elisabeth Borne on Twitter at the end of the CMP.

But then ? In the Senate this Thursday morning, the text resulting from the CMP should logically be adopted, the senatorial majority having already given the green light last Saturday . Uncertainty remains in the Assembly, where the presidential camp only has a relative majority and where the contribution of the LR group is decisive but uncertain.

To resort or not to 49.3

Emmanuel Macron must choose between the risk of going to the vote in the National Assembly and that of resorting to 49.3, a path rejected by eight out of ten French people, according to an Elabe poll published on Wednesday.

Elisabeth Borne wants to believe that “a majority exists, which is not afraid of reforms, even when they are unpopular” and affirmed, for the attention of LR deputies but also of the Liot group, that a positive vote would not be not interpreted as “support for the government”.

Government spokesman Olivier Véran added that the executive was looking “more than ever […] a natural majority” in the Assembly. “We are not projecting ourselves into the hypothesis of recourse to 49.3 but we are not projecting ourselves into abandoning our pension reform project either, that, I guarantee you,” he added.

He also indicated that Elisabeth Borne had not requested the Council of Ministers to use 49.3. “It’s a real political signal,” said a minister. But Emmanuel Macron can still convene an extraordinary Council of Ministers Thursday before 3 p.m. “Can he, politically, switch to 49.3? The question is there and it is not desirable”, advances a regular interlocutor of the Head of State, for whom this hypothesis would “probably” lead to the fall of the government.

Count and recount votes

One thing is certain: the counting of votes will be done and redone until the end. “There may be a post-compromise effect in CMP, a driving force,” says an executive adviser. The atmosphere inside the LR and Liot groups in the Assembly will again and again be probed. The social movement in some constituencies, watched closely. At the Elysée on Wednesday evening around Emmanuel Macron, with Elisabeth Borne and the main ministers concerned, things will be weighed and weighed again.

“It’s a moment of responsibility and risk-taking and the tendency is rather to go to the vote”, assures a minister, before acknowledging: “If the first reading does not pass, it is a one-shot gun . Institutionally, we can continue in second reading, but politically…” And to add: “We will not be able to say, we lost in scratching, we will try again in the draw”. The agreement between LR of the Senate and LR of the Assembly is “decisive”, according to him. “There are enough concessions to put everyone before their responsibilities,” he says. The magnitude of the vote in the Senate on Thursday morning will also be an indication.

“The “if” game is always risky. And if the text is voted on Thursday, won’t that be read as the success of parliamentary democracy? ” advances a close friend of the head of state. “After all, we said no enrichment on the text. And yet… We said France was at a standstill. And yet… And then we have criticized Macron enough for being Jupiter not to reproach him for respecting parliamentarians. Let’s see Thursday…”

In any case, the president is playing very big this Thursday: his reform and the rest of the five-year term.

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