The 49.3 on the pension reform, revealing the isolation of Emmanuel Macron

The 49.3 on the pension reform, revealing the isolation of Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, at the Agricultural Show, in Paris, Monday February 25, 2023.

EEmmanuel Macron did not take his risk. Pressed since the beginning of the week by his majority and his Prime Minister not to use this politically explosive tool, warned by the general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, who saw in it a “democratic vice”, the President of the Republic has yet decided to adopt his pension reform using 49.3, Thursday, March 16. A way that allows him to avoid a high-risk ballot in the National Assembly. And too bad for the damage on Elisabeth Borne, which will have to face one or more motions of censure, for its reform with chipped legitimacy and for the social repercussions. Advancing in the fog because of the uncertain votes of around fifteen Les Républicains (LR) deputies, the Elysée Palace was afraid of seeing its text rejected. But this forced passage is also an admission of weakness as well as an acknowledgment of isolation.

Read also: Pensions, live: Elisabeth Borne uses 49.3, demonstrators gather on Place de la Concorde, in Paris

Firstly because this Elysian decision is made in an unfavorable social context. For several weeks, the executive and a large part of the majority executives knew that the battle of public opinion could not be won. With a very weak government, Mme Borne and a few ministers defended the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64, praising, first of all, the need to save the pay-as-you-go system, then highlighting the measures “of justice” and of ” progress “. Without success. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of French people remain opposed. To this was added the union of trade unions, including the CFDT, which succeeded in organizing eight days of mobilization. Against public opinion and against the social front, the Head of State still thought he could push through his reform in the quagmire of the Palais-Bourbon. By looking for allies and voices one by one, like in a long episode of House of Cards.

But in the Assembly, Emmanuel Macron can no longer overturn the table. In September 2022, forced by its relative majority, it had also thought of passing pensions in an amendment to the Social Security financing bill. Finding the method too hasty and too brutal, Borne was not at all in favor of it. The President of the Republic knew, therefore, that he would need the help of the right. A political family that he has continued to fracture since 2017. After consultations without results with the social partners at the end of the year, the Head of State topped with Eric Ciotti, new president of the LR party, Olivier Marleix, president of the LR deputies, and Bruno Retailleau, president of the LR group in the Senate. An agreement of circumstances but not a reconciliation. Mr. Macron wanted his reform. Mr. Ciotti had the ambition to repaint LR as a government party before better opposing on the next texts, in particular the immigration bill.

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