Opposition parties have the right to request a motion of censure from Macron’s government. Should Macron lose the election, the government would be forced to resign and the pension bill would be void.
Macron’s government will use the executive order
President Emmanuel Macron will use the executive order to push through his unpopular pension reform that will raise France’s retirement age to 64, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, bypassing the lower house of parliament.
After six weeks of debate in parliament on the pension measure, it became evident that Macron lacked the necessary support. As a result, the administration used the constitutional clause known as Article 49.3, which permits the passage of laws without a vote.
In order to avoid deficits that have been made worse by the energy crisis and covid spending, Macron made pension renewal, which raises the minimum retirement age to 62, one of the key priorities of his second term. Opposition MPs might still contest the procedure, and it might take months before a decision is reached.
“Even if 49m3 is in the constitution, for us it represents a lack of respect for democracy,” Philippe Martinez, leader of the hardline CGT union, told reporters outside the National Assembly earlier. “Mobilization and strikes must escalate.”
The right to ask for a motion of censure from the government is reserved for opposition parties. Should Macron lose the election, the government would be forced to resign and the pension bill would be void. Yet for such a measure to succeed, some conservative lawmakers would have to support it.
The majority of French people oppose the reform, and millions have protested it in the streets. However, attendance in recent marches decreased, and surveys indicate that the majority of people anticipated the bill’s passage.
Perhaps the most visible sign of the protests is the garbage on the streets of cities like Paris, where striking garbage collectors have left some 7,000 tons of waste piled up in recent days.
The opposition has other tools to delay the enactment of the reform, such as asking the constitutional court to review or modify the bill or activating a mechanism to call a referendum.
AFP previously reported on the French government’s move.
The legacy of Macron’s government Melody Mock-Gruet, a specialist in French legislative issues, remarked in an interview that “passing laws by decree does not mean the problems are finished for the government. Until change becomes legislation, there may be a long way to go—possibly months.
Once Macron lost an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament last year, his reform drive became more challenging.
His administration has sought to secure the support of conservative Republicans, who have traditionally backed raising the retirement age, but senior party officials have publicly criticized pension reform since the early days of protests.
Politically, Macron had little to lose as he is ineligible to run again after his second term ends in 2027. And he is determined to seal his legacy as a reformer and win a victory for his centrist movement.
Provision 49.3 was used in early 2020 by Macron’s government in a first attempt to pass pension reform after months of strikes and demonstrations. Later, when the Covid epidemic hit, the change was put on hold.
Without changes to the retirement system, it will only record an annual deficit of up to 0.8% of annual economic output over the next 10 years, according to France’s Pension Advisory Council.
Raising the minimum age to 64 and increasing the minimum contribution period to access a full pension will eliminate the deficit of the system by 2030, according to the government.