The National Rally in the street for bakers, but more hesitant for pensions


Demonstration organized by the collective for the survival of artisan bakers and craftsmen, in Paris, on January 23, 2023.

In this month of January, seen from the National Rally (RN), there is the good and the bad demonstration. The good one was on January 23, with a collective of bakers calling on the government to fight against the explosion of their energy bills. The bad one was on January 19, behind the inter-union opposed to pension reform. About fifteen RN deputies showed up, Place de la Nation in Paris, for the bakers’ demonstration, belying by example the party’s first argument for not marching alongside the unions: “The street is not in our DNA. »

Four days earlier, they were fifteen times less, throughout France: Jérôme Buisson, elected in Ain, is the only deputy who communicated his presence in a procession against the pension reform. He had slipped into Bourg-en-Bresse in the ranks of the CFDT, without a tricolor scarf during the first half, with in the second – this is how he proceeds at each event. He misses little since he rubbed shoulders with “yellow vests” on the roundabouts in 2019. Since then, his party has turned him into a lightning rod: the RN has nothing against demonstrations, look at Jérôme Buisson.

“Leading the fight in the Assembly”

In September 2022, a party executive was considering the presence of MPs in future protests against pension reform. Not in Paris, but in small towns where the party knew how to find, in the ranks of the unions, a less hostile gaze than that of the leaders of the big centrals. But at the beginning of the year, a line imposed itself, always the same: that of Marine Le Pen, hostile to demonstrations of any kind and anxious to make profitable its unexpected status as the first opposition group. “All RN voters can perfectly well take to the streets to demonstrate their incomprehension or even their anger against this reform.she explained. But we, as politicians and elected officials, our responsibility is to lead the fight in the National Assembly and that of the debate. »

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Did the success of the January 19 demonstrations, particularly in small towns rarely so mobilized, make the RN blink? At first we believed him. The personal initiative of Deputy Buisson was publicly hailed by Sébastien Chenu, Vice-President of the National Assembly, who the next day did not rule out participating in the January 31 day of action. On Monday, January 23, at the demonstration of the bakers, the deputy from the North “forbids nothing”, but seemed more lukewarm: “We will do exactly what we want and what seems most relevant to us. Today, what seems relevant to us is to prevent there being a majority in the National Assembly to vote for pension reform. This is the most effective, so far. » The RN makes the distinction between the situation of the energy market, which is not debated in the Assembly, and that of pensions, where it intends to take advantage of the two weeks of discussions to put forward its arguments.

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