(Paris) The National Assembly began Monday to examine two motions of censure against the French government, whose passage in force on the pension reform has embittered the opposition and plunged the country into a political crisis, against a backdrop of strong anger social.
Before the start of the debates, a vibrant tribute was paid to French journalist Olivier Dubois, released almost two years after his kidnapping by jihadists in Mali, and who arrived at Niamey airport in Niger on Monday. The deputies applauded him for a long time.
The parliamentarians then began examining a “transpartisan” motion of censure, tabled by the centrist independent parliamentary group LIOT, and a second motion, tabled by the National Rally (RN-extreme right). The motions will then be submitted to the vote of the deputies.
These motions follow Thursday’s appeal by the government to Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows a text to be adopted without a vote if no motion of censure succeeds.
Emmanuel Macron, the true initiator of “49.3” and who had remained silent on the subject since Thursday, in a message to the Presidents of the Senate and of the Assembly sent to AFP, expressed “his wish that the text on pensions can go to the end of his democratic journey with respect for all”.
If these motions are rejected, the reform will be definitively adopted.
After two months of consultations and intense union and popular mobilization against the project, the executive’s forced passage with the use of 49.3 was vilified by the opposition.
Since January 19, hundreds of thousands of French people have demonstrated eight times to express their rejection of this reform, the flagship measure of which, the increase in the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, crystallizes the anger .
Opponents of the reform consider it “unfair”, especially for women and employees in arduous jobs.
But this opposition will have to be united in the Assembly on Monday, from the far right to the radical left, and count on around thirty votes from the deputies Les Républicains (LR, traditional right) to overthrow the government, which has only a relative majority in the Assembly.
An improbable but not impossible scenario, as pressure mounts on parliamentarians.
France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, without the pension systems being completely comparable. The government has chosen to extend working hours to respond to the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population.
Many analysts believe that this pension reform and the protest it has brought about will already leave an indelible mark on the second five-year term of Emmanuel Macron, who had made this project the symbol of his reform desire.
Meanwhile, protests of anger and blockages continue Monday in France.
Demonstrations on road interchanges or on ring roads in several cities have led to traffic slowdowns or blockages.
In Paris, garbage collection is still disrupted despite the requisitions ordered by the prefect.
If the reform is passed, garbage collectors and sanitation workers will retire at 59 instead of 57.
“Every day, I get up at 4:45 a.m. to go and carry, in pairs, between six and 16 tons of garbage. I have tendinitis in both elbows. Lower back pain, we don’t even talk about it anymore. We are marked in the body by the work, “sighs Karim Kerkoudi, 53, Parisian garbage collector and 21 years in the business, questioned near an incineration site in the Paris region where around thirty people – strikers and their supporters – are gathered .
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to cancel Tuesday and Wednesday 20% of their flights at Paris-Orly and Marseille-Provence (South-East).
Fuel shortages hit fuel shortages at many service stations across the country’s southeast on Monday, amid shipping strikes at refineries.
And Parisian students voted on Monday to occupy the Tolbiac faculty.
In a note on France, the financial rating agency Moody’s estimated that the highly contested use of Article 49.3 will “make it difficult to adopt future reforms”.
This government decision is “likely to complicate future attempts to legislate and implement structural macroeconomic reforms during the remainder of Emmanuel Macron’s term of office.”