Can the pension reform bring down the government of Elisabeth Borne?

Elisabeth Borne photographed on February 28 at the National Assembly (illustration)
BERTRAND GUAY / AFP Elisabeth Borne photographed on February 28 at the National Assembly (illustration)


Elisabeth Borne photographed on February 28 at the National Assembly.

POLICY – ” Will the government make it through the winter? », wondered The HuffPost at the end of December. Five days before the arrival of spring, the question comes up with insistence in view of the tormented legislative course of the pension reform carried out by Élisabeth Borne. In question, the uncertainty which hovers around the outcome of the vote in the National Assembly scheduled for Thursday, March 16, if the text passes the test of the Joint Joint Commission on Wednesday.

Because despite the many meetings with the bosses of the Republicans, the head of government is still not assured of the support of the right, while having difficulty in gaining the full number of votes in the ranks of Macronists. Which places Élisabeth Borne faced with the following choice: should we try the blow of a vote at the Palais Bourbon which would give parliamentary legitimacy to this unpopular and disputed text in the street, or then choose the passage in force by using the article 49-3, exposing himself to a motion of censure that could be fatal to him?

What’s next after this ad

Cornelian choice

Experienced parliamentarian, here is how Bruno Retailleau sums up the situation in which the Prime Minister finds herself. ” She will have a tough choice: it’s Russian roulette or big Bertha “, analyzed Friday, March 10 on Sud Radio the boss of senators LR. Consider the dilemma between an option that is both risky and dangerous and a scenario that could cause serious damage.

Let’s take option number one. And imagine that the National Assembly rejects the text, inflicting a snub on the ” mother of reforms Wanted by Emmanuel Macron. The head of government would emerge considerably weakened. Especially since some ministers are beginning to rustle in ” off “that they would see a lot of change in Matignon, reports The Express. ” Elisabeth Borne is hanging by a thread. recognizes a framework of the majority, convinced that the Prime Minister must resolve to attempt the vote, despite a defeat which could cost him his morocco.

“They know it very well: in the current state, the reform does not pass” – an LR deputy at HuffPost.

The 49-3, in this context, would be incredibly violent.warns our interlocutor, who nevertheless supports the reform, considering that the game is not worth the candle: “ better to lose, be humiliated and start on something else “. In the hemicycle this Tuesday, March 14, Elisabeth Borne assured that she intended to go to the end. ” A majority exists, it is not afraid of reforms, even unpopular ones, when they are necessary “, she firmly hammered.

What’s next after this ad

Note that she doesn’t say she won’t use the 49-3… », smiles near the HuffPost an LR deputy rather committed to reform, but who never stops hesitating on his vote. ” We are in a communication war. They repeat that they want a majority and then they will come and tell us that they have to use 49-3. They know it very well: in the current state, the reform does not pass. So they are preparing for the passage in force, telling themselves that we will not vote for a motion of censure, ” analyzes this elected official experienced in parliamentary intrigues.

A fatal motion of censure?

Then comes the hypothesis of 49-3 and censorship which, if adopted, would bring down the government and cause (according to the Elysian promise) a dissolution of the Assembly. From an accounting point of view, it would take around thirty LR votes to bring down the Prime Minister. Officially, the right-wing group does not eat this bread. At a press conference, the president of the LR group Olivier Marleix, hostile to this scenario, confirmed that the right-wing elected officials who would like to sign the transpartisan motion prepared by the LIOT group were intended to sit elsewhere.

Still, some LR deputies are not against it, as announced to Release MP for Pas-de-Calais Pierre-Henri Dumont. “I am ready for any possibility to make the government understand that “this is not a method, this is a provocation”, threatened the young parliamentarian, quoting Chirac. Not impressed either, his colleague Pierre Cordier (related to the right-wing group): “ If there are twenty deputies who sign the motion of censure, it will be complicated to exclude the twenty deputies in question “, declared the deputy of the Ardennes on LCP, who does not exclude joining the initiative envisaged by the deputy LIOT Charles-de-Courson and to vote the motion of censure.

What’s next after this ad

What to seal the fate of the Prime Minister? An LR deputy, wishing to remain anonymous, does not believe it. ” There will never be thirty elected from us to vote for the motion of censure. On the other hand, it will be the government alone which will be accountable for the 49-3 in front of the French. good luck with that “, predicts our interlocutor.

“She can hold on”

Finally, the other unknown factor in the sequence emerges: the political consequences of the use of this controversial article in the explosive context of a reform deemed unfair by a large majority of French people. Which could lead to a reshuffle, just to close the sequence and give oxygen to the head of state.

“The Watercress Effect should not be underestimated” – a ministerial adviser, to HuffPost.

“If they decide to go to 49-3, it is Macron who will be weakened”, fears a majority executive, who would do without the signal sent by an early end of lease for Elisabeth Borne, whose departure would act such a short passage at Matignon than that of Edith Cresson (10 months, in 1991-1992, editor’s note). An argument taken up wholeheartedly by an influential ministerial adviser: “ The Cresson effect should not be underestimated. Emmanuel Macron, who doesn’t like making decisions under pressure, even less when it comes to human resources, might want to wait a bit before changing people “, predicts this connoisseur of politics.

What’s next after this ad

At the Élysée, we wallow in silence. Emmanuel Macron hinted on Monday that he had ” a majority to push through the reform. A majority that remains to be found on Thursday March 16 if the text arrives in both chambers for a final vote after the version of the joint joint committee. It is from these two decisive days that will come his decision whether or not to keep Élisabeth Borne at Matignon. As a MoDem MP summed up on Tuesday, “ he alone has the key “.

See also on The HuffPost: