Updated Wednesday,22march2023-02:16

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  • Crisis Macron saves in extremis his pension reform
  • France Macron distances The Republicans, his support to govern

Emmanuel Macron has a serious outlook for the remaining four years of his mandate: 70% of the French do not like him, he loses support in an increasingly hostile Assembly; in the streets of Paris, puppets are burned with his face and banners are waved where he is sent to the guillotine and compared to King Louis XVI. The opposition and the street describe him as authoritarian and arrogant and accuse him of burdening democracy and despising the French.

His determination to push through the unpopular pension reform at all costs, despite having the country against him, throws this scene. The president gathered yesterday his government and allied groups in Parliament (Renaissance, his party, and Horizons and Modem) to see what steps to take after overcoming on Monday by the hairs the motions of censure against his controversial reform.

For now, both Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne have downplayed the fact that the motion was only nine votes away from triumphing and, therefore, from overthrowing the reform and the Government. The last censorship, presented in October, had 239 supporters. Monday's: 287. Several dozen votes illustrating the decline of the government in the Chamber.

The decision to approve the pension reform by decree, without a parliamentary vote, has France on the verge of cataclysm. There is chaos in the Assembly, increasingly polarized and where the government is more alone. There is chaos in the street, increasingly inflamed, with thousands of people demonstrating daily across the country and more radicals burning garbage and lighting containers.

"Macron faces a very difficult situation, of blockade, which is unprecedented in the Fifth Republic and from which it is difficult to come out well, whatever he does," political scientist Luc Rouban, of Sciences Po, explains to EL MUNDO.

To survive in the long run, the president needs a new short-term strategy. Today he will address the French on television to try to calm tempers and advance some ideas, although for the moment he rules out dissolving the Assembly, changing the Government or calling a referendum on pension reform, according to collaborators present at the meetings he had yesterday.

Neither option is good for him. Dissolving the Assembly and calling new elections is the least. Without a majority since the last legislative elections, it has two oppositions in the seats: the radical left and the radical right. "His party would have bad results and give more power to these poles," says the expert.

Macron runs the risk of becoming an immobile president, without the capacity to carry out the rest of the reforms he plans due to lack of support in the Assembly. "I could look for circumstantial majorities," says Rouban. "Try to agree on reforms with the left or the right, as it suits you, although it is complicated, your opposition grows."

Another way out is to change the government and the prime minister. It would allow him to turn the page, sacrificing the visible face of this reform. Yesterday, in the meeting he had with his government, Borne made it clear that he will resist. "I wouldn't change anything in substance. The problem is not her. It's the lack of trust. In the eyes of many, Macron has become a right-wing president," says Rouban.

By approving this unpopular reform by decree, "he has forced everything, because he has made a presidential reading of the article of the Constitution that allows it." He wanted to go down in history as the president who modernized France, but he could do it as the one who passed his key reform and it sentenced him.

The unions are holding a ninth day of a general strike tomorrow. There is the garbage crisis in Paris, with workers determined to extend it for a third week. Also the crisis due to blockades in refineries. To avoid fuel shortages and a plague of rats, the government has had to force workers in both sectors to return to activity. This has further angered the street. "The problem is that Macron crystallizes the anger and personal hatred of many French people. Everything has become radicalized," says Rouban.

Macron, who wanted to pass as the reformist leader, is above all the one of the revolts. His first term was marked by the crisis of the yellow vests and does not meet a year of the second and already has another social outbreak. "The problem is that he has not one year left in his term, but four. France cannot be in permanent crisis for four years," says Rouban.

Next week he welcomes the King of England, who has chosen a burning France for his first trip abroad after his ascension to the throne. Then Macron has several international trips, a way to escape the house fire. According to Rouban, "France is at a political impasse, before the end of Macronism. He is increasingly lonely. He sold himself as a consensus president and has provoked conflict. The best solution would be to reconvene presidential elections but then the country would be ungovernable. More so."

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  • France
  • Paris
  • Emmanuel Macron