Pension reform in France: MEPs reject cross-party motion of censure

The deputies settle in the hemicycle of the National Assembly before the vote of the motions of censure, on March 20, 2023. © REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

The National Assembly rejected Monday, March 20 by nine votes the first of two motions of censure against the French government on its pension reform project, the one likely to win the largest number of votes. Last Thursday, Elisabeth Borne had indeed triggered the 49.3, device provided for in the French Constitution, thus involving the responsibility of her government. Since then, the anger in the streets has not abated with demonstrations all over France.


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This first cross-party motion received 278 votes out of the 287 needed. MPs must now vote on a second motion, tabled by the far right, which has no chance of being adopted. The pension reform will then be considered definitively adopted.

All eyes were turned this Monday, March 20 to the deputies The Republicans. Last week, six or seven of them wanted to vote for the transpartisan motion tabled by the Liot group against the government. There were about ten of them this morning. It was necessary that thirty LR deputies, half of the group, take the plunge against the advice of the leadership of their party. So the risk to the government was very low.

First speaker at the rostrum of the Assembly, MP Charles de Courson of the independent group Liot castigated the "injustice" of the pension reform project and pinned the "denial of democracy" that represented 49.3.

"Madam Prime Minister, you have decided to engage your responsibility. Well, we decided to take ours," @C_deCourson continued, accusing the government of "hijacking the spirit of the Constitution". #MotionsDeCensure #DirectAN #RéformeDesRetraites

— LCP (@LCP) March 20, 2023

At the rostrum, the boss of the LR deputies, Olivier Marleix, noting a fractured France, denounced on the one hand the lack of dialogue of the government, on the other hand the attitude of those who, favorable to a motion of censure, would be unable to agree to "rebuild".

"Let's be clear, the problem today is not the pension reform, it is the president of the Republic," said @oliviermarleix.#MotionsDeCensure #DirectAN #RéformeDesRetraites

— LCP (@LCP) March 20, 2023

In the morning, the LR deputy of the Lot, Aurélien Pradié, had announced that he would vote in favor of the transpartisan motion of censure. Just like Pierre-Henry Dumont, LR deputy of Pas-de-Calais, who at the microphone of RFI assumed the vote of the motion of censure tabled by the group Liot.

I shall vote in favour of the cross-party motion of censure. In liability.

We cannot allow our country to fracture further, our democracy to weaken.

We need a salutary electroshock. To bring the country together.

— Aurélien Pradié (@AurelienPradie) March 20, 2023

Constituency pressure

The weekend had obviously made several deputies think, interviewed this morning by RFI. "I was shaken in my constituency," a Les Républicains MP told RFI. Shaken by voters who have not digested the government's forced passage. "The people I met this weekend almost all asked me to sanction the government," said another parliamentarian.

Pressure from voters and pressure from other parties: Jordan Bardella, the boss of the National Rally, has bluntly promised the LR deputies who would vote for censure not to present RN candidates against them in case of dissolution. And then Les Républicains were inundated with emails all weekend calling on them to censor the government, emails from voters in La Nupes.

Across France, mobilizations continued this weekend against the reform. The ring road was blocked in Rennes in the west of the country on Monday 20 March. Refineries are also at a standstill. In addition, the students of the Sorbonne in Paris voted to occupy one of the sites of their university.

► Read also: Pension reform in France: MPs face motions of censure, the government waiting

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  • France
  • French politics
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  • Employment and Labour
  • Elisabeth Borne