The Macron Government Surpasses By Only Nine Votes The Motion Of Censure After The Pension Reform

The government of Emmanuel Macron, led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, has once again overcome the motion of no confidence raised by the opposition after resorting, once again, to article 49.3 of the Constitution, which gives it the power to approve the controversial reform of pensions by decree. The reform in question delays the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

The motion presented by the small group LIOT (Freedoms, Independents, Overseas and Territories) has received the support of 278 deputies and the absolute majority is at 287. Deputies from the leftist coalition NUPES and from the extreme right of Marine Le Pen have supported the proposal, as well as some rebel deputies from the conservative formation Los Republicanos. In total, 19 deputies from Los Republicanos have voted in favor of overthrowing the Government, but 28 were needed. A second motion presented by the Le Pen formation only received 94 votes in favor. After the vote there have been rallies in various cities to protest against the reform.


“Those who disguise 49.3 as an anti-democratic tool have a short memory. They forget that it is precisely the weakening of Parliament and the inability to legislate in crisis situations that has led some to question parliamentary democracy”, the Prime Minister pointed out during the parliamentary session. “49.3 is not the invention of a dictator, but the deeply democratic choice of General De Gaulle and approved by the French people. In the end, you vote. We are at the end of the democratic and political path of this reform. If they want to overthrow the government that is carrying it out, now they have the opportunity, ”she added.

Charles de Courson, a LIOT deputy who presented the motion of no confidence, addressed the Prime Minister during the session: “Nothing forced her to use 49.3. Courage and respect for the institutions should have led them to vote. They probably would have lost the vote, but that’s the norm in a democracy.” “The National Assembly, the sole representative of the French people, would never have voted on this bill” and “the government has used all possible maneuvers to circumvent and constrain the parliamentary debate, to twist the procedures,” he added.

The spokesperson in the Assembly of La Francia Insumisa, Mathilde Panot, has described the government’s maneuver to approve the reform as treason. “Whatever the result of this vote of no confidence, you have already lost,” she pointed out. Both Panot and Jean-Luc MĂ©lenchon have asked to continue with the mobilizations.

The mechanism of 49.3 allows the Assembly to withdraw the Government’s project if a motion of censure against the Government is presented and approved within 24 hours of the application of the clause. Borne does not have a majority in the Assembly and already surpassed two other motions presented by the opposition in October when the French Executive approved the budgets by decree. Then the NUPES motion, supported by surprise by Le Pen, got 239 votes.

The French Constitution limits the use of the constitutional tool of article 49.3 to once per legislature except in the case of a finance bill (PLF) or social security financing bill (PLFSS). Hence the legislative format chosen for the pension reform – amending bill for social security financing – which left the Executive the possibility of resorting to the decree to approve the text in the event of parliamentary blockade. In the first place, Borne tried to get the support of Los Republicanos, but he did not succeed.