One wants and the other doesn’t. “This 49-3 affair is a subject of very strong tension between the president and the Prime Minister,” murmurs an important minister. Tuesday, February 11 in the evening, before the deputies of his majority invited to the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel Macron was very clear about his wish that the pension reform be adopted as soon as possible by the Parliament.
“We have to finish before summer. It is wrong to say that more debate is needed. It has been going on for two years! he summoned, very directive. A government and a Parliament must be able to say: that’s how it is and we decide. Public opinion demands decisions and is fed up with floating. ” It is not the only one, obviously.
In the room, the elected officials felt the shadow of the authoritarian article of the Constitution allowing a law to be adopted without voting. Around Edouard Philippe, we have our feet on the brakes and we are worried about the risk of “cutting off the dialogue with the majority”, while hints of a sling stir the troops. “The Prime Minister is fundamentally opposed to it,” even says a pillar of the Assembly. The subject is so sensitive that it would only be discussed one-on-one between the two heads of the executive.
“49-3 is the last resort”
In the Assembly, the hourglass spins at high speed and things seem to be badly started, as the Walkers are crumbling under the opposition’s amendments. No less than 22,000 … Exceptionally, the special committee in charge of the text preferred to interrupt its work this week, for lack of being able to overcome this parliamentary Everest. “We are freestyle!” By pushing the fires, we could have the text voted on at first reading before the first round of the municipal elections, it’s ric-rac ”, evaluates a government source, who hardly believes in it. As for having the text adopted before the summer holidays…
From the beginning of July, the hemicycle will be closed for work on the roof. Then it will be the turn of the Senate, half of the elected members of which will be renewed in September. “The problem is that we are no longer very free of the calendar. When are we going to finish this text and how? I don’t have the answer, ”worries a minister. A regular at the Elysée Palace prophesies, worried about the end of the five-year term: “This retirement affair will hamper Emmanuel for long months …”
Everything will be decided at the start of next week, when discussions will start in the Assembly from Monday. “It will be decisive in the conduct of the weeks to come. We will have to respond present in the hemicycle! The 49-3 is the last resort, but it is not the preferred option for the moment, ”asserts, reluctantly, a LREM deputy listened to at the Elysée. “The risk, warns the same, is to fall into the trap of the opposition. Frankly, we didn’t understand why the president alluded to it on Tuesday evening… ”
An institutional bazooka
For the moment, according to our information, the Council of Ministers has not given authorization to the government to draw this institutional bazooka, which is traditionally used to circumscribe a restive majority, and never to counter the opposition guerrillas.
In a context of strong social tension, where tenors of LREM fear new violence, several figures of the majority warned the Head of State on the danger of reopening the floodgates of anger. Like this participant in the political dinners which are held almost every week around Emmanuel Macron: “If he imposes the 49-3, I don’t know what the consequences will be. A whole part of the country, especially on the left, will cry out forfeiture. It will be very violent, because we risk brutalizing many French people. Laurent Berger ( Editor’s note: boss of the CFDT ) also risks leaving the negotiating conference table. In short, that nuclear stuff … ”Without even mentioning the risk of fueling the recurrent authoritarian trial made at Macron. Which, and it is not the least of paradoxes, had very badly lived that one imposes him the 49-3 when he was minister.
President of the MoDem group at the Assembly, Patrick Mignola nevertheless defends this option. “We must be able to use the constitutional objects that are available to the government,” he argues. Parliament is destroying itself under the influence of oppositions. If they have chosen to rot the Parliament, we can also prevent them via a 49-3! “
A big bang in the organization?
It must be said that time is running out for this president caught up, like his predecessors before him, by the dread of the countdown to the approach of the presidential election. Lucid about the disenchantment of a part of the country, according to those who exchange with him, Macron would be eager to write this “new page” which he keeps talking about in small groups. The one which, he thinks, should enable him to win back opinion.
Will it go through a big bang in terms of organization? Around him, several plead for “radical” decisions and that he revises his entire device, from floor to ceiling. Clearly, from LREM to Matignon. “He has a nonexistent party, a fragile majority and a weak government. It’s time to get back into political battle, ”storms a familiar from the Elysee. Who thinks out loud: “If there is a new Prime Minister, he cannot get started with the ball of pensions on his feet”. For the head of state, it goes without doubt, beyond the subject of pensions, his own re-election.