The threat of dissolution hangs over the return to parliament

Entre le budget et la réforme des retraites, la session ordinaire du Parlement qui s'ouvre ce lundi s'annonce déjà explosive.

Posted Oct 3, 2022, 6:29 AM

Mentioned with insistence, the 49-3, motion of censure or even dissolution set the tone for this parliamentary return: feverish and tense. From Monday Parliament enters ordinary session until June 2023. The simple relative majority obtained in June by Emmanuel Macron after his re-election changed the situation at the Palais-Bourbon, which returns to the center of the political game. Gone are the plethoric and docile majorities on which the last Presidents of the Republic were able to count in the wake of their election or their re-election, as was the case for Jacques Chirac in 2002, Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, François Hollande in 2012 or Emmanuel Macron in 2017.

Without an absolute majority at the Palais-Bourbon – Renaissance (170), the Modem (50) and Horizons (30) can only count on 250 deputies when it would take 289 -, Emmanuel Macron must find compromises “text by text”. “We feel that he finds it difficult to bear having lost power to Parliament,” notes an interlocutor. In August, the first bills, such as the one concerning purchasing power, were able to be voted on thanks to the contribution of votes from the RN or LR.

But these compromises seem difficult to achieve on much more sensitive bills such as the budget, which signs whether or not the membership of a majority, or the pension reform. The executive comes up against increasingly intransigent opposition. First on the side of the Nupes of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the group La France Insoumise (LFI). “The LFI group is committed to disorder, obstruction and rejection of the democratic functioning of our country. They want disorder in the street, disorder in the Assembly, dissolution, it is their only obsession, ”denounced Saturday morning on France Inter Franck Riester, the Minister for Relations with Parliament. Then on the side of the LR, while the race for the presidency of the party is well and truly launched and promotes one-upmanship in the opposition to Emmanuel Macron.

Budget and pensions

If the first text in session will be that on unemployment insurance, all eyes are riveted on two highly conflicting bills: the 2023 budget and pensions. The first, presented last week by the government, will be in session from next week. The shadow of 49-3 is already well established above the text, after the “niet” displayed by Les Républicains (LR), whose parliamentary group of 62 deputies has become pivotal to obtaining a majority.

But it is on the pension reform that the tension is likely to rise a notch. After several weeks of procrastination at the top of the State, it will finally be the subject of a specific text following consultation. There again, no one has any illusions: 49-3 is taking shape, with, as a result, the inevitable motion of censure. Last week, Emmanuel Macron was clear: if a motion of censure is adopted, it will be an immediate dissolution of the National Assembly. Hypothesis still theoretical, since the vote of a motion of censure, which requires the absolute majority of the 577 deputies, or 289 votes, requires a de facto alliance between all the parties of Nupes, LR and RN.

If Marine Le Pen welcomed the presidential firmness with a “chick”, the comments were not always so cheerful. Olivier Marleix, the boss of the LR deputies, saw in it “a declaration of distrust towards the entire Assembly”. The presidential message was mainly intended for Republicans since, in substance, the party supports pension reform. But evoking the dissolution was also an indirect message to Elisabeth Borne, whose future at Matignon is now linked to the outcome of this reform.

Previous from 1962

The president’s supporters had to step up. “It’s not a threat, it’s the Ve Republic. The Assembly overthrows the government, the president dissolves. It happened like that every time, ”defended François Bayrou last Friday from Pau, where he inaugurated the new cultural center of the city in the company of Emmanuel Macron.

You have to go back six decades, to October 1962, to find a motion of censure followed by a dissolution, the only time this scenario occurred under the Ve Republic. At the time, the deputies had censured the government of Prime Minister Georges Pompidou to challenge the presidential plan to elect the President of the Republic by direct universal suffrage. General de Gaulle had dissolved in the wake of the motion of censure and collected a comfortable majority. “By recalling the weapon of dissolution, Emmanuel Macron intends to put the opposition before their responsibilities”, estimates a member of the government. The game of liar poker has only just begun.


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