Europe 1 with AFP 16:16 p.m., March 16, 2023, modified at 19:07 p.m., March 16, 2023

This Thursday, while the government gave up going through a vote in the National Assembly and decided to activate article 49.3, the reactions of opponents to the pension reform were not long in coming. In the hemicycle, Elisabeth Borne engaged under boos the responsibility of the government by the 49.3.

Outcry in oppositions. This Thursday, the Council of Ministers authorized the government to engage its responsibility before the National Assembly to adopt the pension reform without a vote, after the choice of Emmanuel Macron to use the controversial tool of 49.3, we learned from the Elysee. "The Prime Minister asked the President to be able to engage the responsibility of his government on the text resulting from the joint committee" which brought together Wednesday deputies and senators, told AFP the presidency of the Republic. A decision that quickly made opponents react.

MPs of the majority "shocked" by 49.3

A "waste", a "shock" or even a "crash": several MPs of the majority say they are "stunned" by the government's recourse to 49.3 on the pension reform, including the MoDem, which "pleaded to the end" for a vote. Among the centrists, Erwan Balanant (MoDem) came out "in shock" from the hemicycle, he told AFP. "It was a mistake to make 49.3 on a text like that given the state of our democracy. We had to go to the vote, even if it meant losing. I am in shock," responded this elected representative of Finistère, evoking a situation "which is approaching the crisis of regime".

The president of the MoDem group Jean-Paul Mattei was "extremely courageous, he said at each meeting that we had to go to the vote," according to Erwan Balanant. This was also what the bosses of the allied groups Renaissance and Horizons, Aurore Bergé and Laurent Marcangeli, wore. In a press release, the entire group of 51 MoDem MPs stressed that they had pleaded "to the end in favour of a vote". He nevertheless "assures" the executive of "his support" after the "difficult decision" to use the constitutional weapon. This is "the only one able to guarantee the adoption of a major and essential text for the safeguarding of our pay-as-you-go pension system".

49.3, which allows a text to be adopted without a vote, "is a waste" and an "admission of weakness", also believes Richard Ramos (MoDem), the only one who was likely to abstain in his group. Favorable to the bill, Philippe Vigier (MoDem) deplores a "huge waste", while attacking the right: "many LR" wanted to vote against the reform "only in opposition to Emmanuel Macron".

Within the Horizons group, André Villiers, one of the most reluctant to reform, believes that "it is a delayed waste" and that "in public opinion things will remain very crystallized". At Renaissance too, some elected Macronists do not hide their incomprehension. At a Renaissance meeting shortly before 49.3 was formalized, MPs were "stunned," according to one participant. They anticipate "the possible sequence behind". For an official of the majority group, on condition of anonymity, "it is a crash. There needs to be a dissolution."

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The issue of motions of censure fuels the divisions of the LR

Divisions were exacerbated Thursday among Republicans, over no-confidence motions following the use of 49.3 by the government on pension reform. Eric Ciotti indicated that his party would not vote for "any", but several MPs are thinking of supporting them. "We will not associate ourselves with any motion of censure and will not vote any motion of censure," said the boss of the party, saying he did not want to "add chaos to chaos".

"The crisis situation in the country would not support that we deal today a fatal blow to our democracy and our institutions: we will never participate in a coalition of extremes whose sole aim is to carry the revolution," justified Eric Ciotti. The deputy of Alpes-Maritimes indicated that the position was retained following a vote of the LR deputies. "All the members who were present agreed with the decision by a very large majority," he said.

But MP Aurélien Pradié, opposed to the reform and in favour of tabling a motion of censure specific to LR, said in the wake that "each MP remains totally free to participate in another motion of censure". The deputy of the Lot explained not to rule out "any hypothesis by definition", especially about a possible motion carried by the group of independents LIOT. Similarly, Pierre-Henri Dumont said he did not want to associate himself with a motion "signed by members of the RN or LFI", but a LIOT motion "is negotiated, discussed", he argued. Moselle MP Fabien Di Filippo said that "personally, (he) will vote for censure".

Jean-Luc Mélenchon observes a "collapse of the minority"

Jean-Luc Mélenchon observed a "collapse of the presidential minority" on Thursday from a rally organized Place de la Concorde after the 49.3 used by Elisabeth Borne to pass the disputed pension reform.

According to him, after this "spectacular failure", the social movement has "a good chance of having the last word". "We are facing a text not adopted in the forms of a parliamentary democracy," insisted the rebellious leader, as the demonstration gained momentum.

Laurent Berger announces "new mobilizations"

"There will be new mobilizations" against the pension reform, CFDT secretary general Laurent Berger told AFP on Thursday, denouncing a "democratic vice" after the government's decision to activate the constitutional weapon of 49.3 to pass its reform.

"Obviously there will be new mobilizations, because the protest is extremely strong, we already have a lot of reactions from the union teams. We will decide together in an inter-union," which will be held Thursday evening at the headquarters of the CGT, he added.

By using 49.3, the government is demonstrating that it does not have a majority to approve the two-year postponement of the legal retirement age. The political compromise failed. It is the workers who must be listened to when we claim to act on their work.

— Laurent Berger (@CfdtBerger) March 16, 2023

Marine Le Pen announces that she will table a motion of censure

Marine Le Pen (RN) announced Thursday that she would table a motion of censure against the government after the use of 49.3 on the text of the pension reform by Elisabeth Borne, considering that the latter "can not stay" in Matignon. "We hope that those who were about to vote against this pension reform will vote for this motion of censure. As far as we are concerned, we will table a motion and we will vote on all the motions of censure that will be tabled," added the president of the National Rally (RN) group in the National Assembly, which has 88 deputies.

The unfortunate triple presidential candidate said that the use of 49.3 "is an admission of total failure for Emmanuel Macron", "a personal failure" of the President of the Republic, as much as an "extraordinary admission of weakness" of the government. According to her, Elisabeth Borne "cannot stay" at Matignon. "She has to go. Staying would be seen as an additional slap in the face to the French people," Le Pen added, considering that the situation was one of a "political crisis".


LIVE - Pension reform: Borne activates 49.3, motions of censure announced

Fabien Roussel wants to set up a referendum of shared initiative

French Communist Party (PCF) MP Fabien Roussel reacted quickly to the triggering of 49.3 by the Prime Minister in order to avoid a vote on pension reform by the National Assembly. For Fabien Roussel, "the government chooses 49.3 and decides to make this reform even more illegitimate". To oppose this, the leader of the PCF wants to engage in a "great popular battle with the inter-union" to be able to set up a referendum of shared initiative (RIP), he said on Twitter.

The government chooses 49-3 and decides to make this reform even more illegal!

We have a tool: the REFERENDUM, the RIP.

Let us engage in a great popular battle with the inter-union which has shown great responsibility.

— Fabien Roussel (@Fabien_Roussel) March 16, 2023

The president's "whims"

Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure on Thursday denounced the president's "whims" after Emmanuel Macron's decision to use article 49.3 to pass his highly controversial pension reform without a vote in the Assembly. "The Elysee is not a park to shelter the whims of the president," tweeted Olivier Faure. "When a president has no majority in the country, no majority in the National Assembly, he must withdraw his project," he added. The coordinator of La France insoumise Manuel Bompard denounced "the permanent coup de force". "The people are against them. Let's get them out," he pleaded.

When a president has no majority in the country, no majority in the National Assembly, he must withdraw his project. The Elysée is not a park to shelter the whims of the president. #64ansCestNon

— Olivier Faure (@faureolivier) March 16, 2023

For the leader of the communists Fabien Roussel, "this reform will be illegitimate," he told the press. "We still have a tool, the Referendum of shared initiative (recourse to the initiative of parliamentarians and citizens, editor's note). In this case, we have a good campaign ahead of us and in the meantime the reform will be suspended. Parliament will have been flouted and humiliated to the end." "We will not stop there," abounded on Twitter the national secretary of EELV Marine Tondelier, stressing that "in the street, the 49.3, it does not exist". "Emmanuel Macron's choice to use 49.3 is fraught with meaning and illustrates his contempt, failure and brutality," she added.

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LFI MPs call for the resignation of Elisabeth Borne

Marseillaise sung and signs "64 years, it's no" brandished by left-wing deputies: the session devoted to the pension reform began Thursday in the heckling at the National Assembly, at the arrival of Elisabeth Borne to trigger the 49.3.

After a first false start due to a delay by the Prime Minister, the session was briefly interrupted. Elisabeth Borne ended up speaking from the rostrum, in front of LFI deputies calling for her "resignation".