The review of the pension reform has turned into a virtual deadlock in the National Assembly: on the third day of debates on Wednesday, reminders to the regulations and suspensions succeeded one another in great tension, preventing the progress of work on the thousands of amendments.

From the opening of the meeting, the tone was set with reminders to the LR regulations asking for clarification on the financing of the reform, and the left denouncing the rules in force for the examination of the 41,000 amendments.

In a stormy atmosphere, the three left-wing groups – PS, PCF, and LFI – contested the measures taken the previous day in a conference of the presidents of the Assembly to criss-cross the debate, notably providing for a single speaker on the identical amendments.

For the left, it is particularly unacceptable that amendments placed in different places of the text fall because they would have the same object.

“It is serious what is happening,” launched Sebastien Jumel (PCF), accusing the president of the Assembly of “authoritarianism”.


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At the perch, Richard Ferrand (LREM) defended the application of a “constant rule” and excluded any new conference of presidents because “moods would change”.

The boss of LR Christian Jacob said that with such a rule, “we arrive at something ridiculous”.

Several session suspensions followed, interspersed with the examination of a handful of amendments, recalling the paralysis of July 2018 during the examination of the draft constitutional revision, collateral victim of the Benalla affair.

During one of the multiple breaks, on the eve of a new inter-professional day of mobilization, several rebellious and communists sang the song of the yellow vests “here we are”.

-“play with fire”-

“What image do we give of our work? This is basic anti-parliamentarianism,” protested the co-rapporteur Nicolas Turquois (MoDem), applauded by the majority, standing, while the Secretary of State Laurent Pietraszewski pleaded to return to the debate.

On Twitter, elected officials said they were “ashamed” that the Assembly “was turning into a circus” or lamented “a sorry Lepine obstruction contest”.

“Be careful, you are playing with fire,” also launched LREM deputy leader Gilles Le Gendre to the opposition.

“The question is no longer that of the debate on pensions but that of the defense of institutions,” he said, in an intervention concluded by a standing ovation from the “walkers” and yet another suspension of the session.

Since Monday, the debates skate on this reform aiming to create a “universal” system of pensions by points. After long discussions on the very title of the bill, the deputies did not start until evening the examination of article 1, devoted to “general principles”.

With Annie Genevard (LR) at the perch, the tension is a little lessened, in a hemicycle always enough supplied. Right and left have disputed that the objectives of the reform are “equity”, “solidarity” or even “freedom of choice for the insured”, as put forward in the bill in a pure “literary gesture”, far from “reality”, in the words of Eric Woerth (LR).

While the co-rapporteur Corinne Vignon took advantage of the support for the reform of the French people encountered by the “walkers”, the communist Sebastien Jumel asked who she had been able to meet in these “Tupperware meetings”, attracting lectern clicks and accusations of sexism by the majority, with a new suspension of session at the end.

In the hope that the calendar can hold, the deputies will sit at least until March 6, with work this weekend.

The specter of the use of the “49-3”, a weapon of the Constitution which allows the government to shorten the debates and to have a bill passed without a vote, looms large.

“We are going towards the total unknown,” admits a government source, who says he is witnessing “this sad spectacle with swinging arms”.

Would the use of “49-3” be a defeat? “Not at all”, replies Florian Bachelier (LREM): “The majority must not be locked into the trap set by the extreme left” and “everyone will take their responsibilities”.

Monday evening, a “walker” predicted: “either it’s painful but we get there (…), or they make Benalla and it blocks completely …”

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