Towards a third week with still 30,000 amendments on the menu: the review of the pension reform is progressing painfully in the Assembly, between an obstruction now more muted opposition and a tense majority, pending a resolution by a possible 49-3.
Against the backdrop of repeated arguments from both sides and fatigue, the deputies are preparing to sit for a second consecutive weekend. At midday Friday, they were in the 6th article on the 65 of the bill, with the prospect of having to debate another 600 hours, at the current rate of 50 amendments per hour …
It is “quite tiring to listen to the rehearsal,” said Jean-Paul Mattei (MoDem) in the hemicycle on this twelfth day. But the responses of the majority as of the Secretary of State Laurent Pietraszewski are “not convincing”, retorted Herve Saulignac (PS), while the pensions of the officials were under discussion.
The Republicans for their part continue to point to the “enormous problem” of a text without the funding component, which is suspended at the conference with the social partners.
Opposing Thursday evening a new “dilatory maneuver” – a request for a special commission from the Communists -, the leader of the deputies LREM Gilles Le Gendre shook up “all the nuances of the obstruction”: of the “bellicose” of the beginnings “with semantic and typographical obstruction, that of semicolons and changes of qualifiers”, until “shameful obstruction” and “masked”.
In fact, the time is less for blows than for substantive questions. But “we hardly get into the debate, and always in a disjointed and deconstructed way”, still deplores the “walker” Marie Lebec.
Tired by a “litany” of amendments “without any interest” of the rebellious and communists, the majority even deserted the hemicycle for thirty minutes Tuesday late evening. The episode may recur in the event of repeated “harassment”, warned general rapporteur Guillaume Gouffier-Cha (LREM).
- “We sail by sight” –
The very relative appeasement and the advance in the amendments pushed back the prospect of 49-3, this weapon that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is ready to use to keep “the commitment” to establish the universal point system.
Article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution allows the government to take responsibility for law and pass it without a vote unless the Assembly adopts a motion of censure.
“When it comes to taking responsibility, I do it without hesitation,” said the head of government earlier this week, while many members of the majority welcomed this waiting position.
The 49-3 is more often used in case of a narrow majority than to interrupt the debates. The LREM group “is being dislocated” and “they need the 49-3 to be able to hide it,” Adrien Quatennens (LFI) told Cnews on Friday.
But there have been no voting accidents so far and the tight-knit majority are standing up. A 49-3 would not be an act of “mistrust” towards him, assures AFP the spokesperson for LREM Aurore Berge, who will even “ask” to use it. “To go to the end of the text it would take several months, that means not voting the PMA for all, dependence at the end of the year, etc.”, she supports.
But while the coronavirus has become the number one priority for the government, with even a member forced to stay at home because of a stay in China, when to call 49-3? “Difficult to anticipate, we sail by sight”, according to a government source.
Pension reform is on the agenda at the Palais Bourbon until March 6, but it is possible to encroach on the 15-day truce scheduled for municipal elections, or even overflow afterward.
Be careful that the results of local elections, if they are bad, are not analyzed through the prism of 49-3, therefore “attributable to the government and the majority”, warns a parliamentary source LREM.
An old truck driver adds: “It is a weapon which always turns on the one who uses it”.