Macron’s government faces a motion of no confidence after imposing the pension reform without congressional approval: what it is and how it works

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during the National Round Table on Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Michel Euler/Pool via REUTERS) (POOL/)

The French opposition said on Thursday that it will present a motion of no confidence against the government in Parliament, in response to the President’s decision Emmanuel Macron and its prime minister, Elizabeth Borne, to adopt his unpopular pension reform without the vote of the deputies.

Macron wants to delay the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030 and advance to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years (and not 42 as before) to collect a full pension. Two out of three French people are opposed, according to polls.

The only way to prevent its application now is that the deputies present and approve a motion of censure against the government, which would be debated in the coming days. far-right leader Marine LePenalready announced one.

“We must censure this government and we hope that those who were about to vote against this pension reform will vote for this motion of censure,” Le Pen said, adding that they will vote “all the motions of censure that are presented”.

Other parties had advanced that they would opt for this option in the event that the government resorted to the aarticle 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows a law to be approved without the votes of the deputies, something that finally happened this Thursday in a chaotic session in the National Assembly.

Opposition parties have 24 hours to present a motion of censure. Will probably be debated and voted on Monday March 20, according to French media. However, it is not clear if the opposition will agree to vote on a single text.

How does it work

The motion must be filed within the next 24 hours for a minimum of 10% of the deputies of the National Assembly (57 deputies).

The far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, has already announced a motion of no confidence (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier)
The far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, has already announced a motion of no confidence (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier) (SARAH MEYSSONNIER/)

To be approved, the motion of censure must obtain the absolute majoritythat is to say at least 287 votes.

The necessary threshold of an absolute majority explains why up to now this tool has never been successful.

However, this could change with the pension reform. “I say it seriously: it is perhaps the first time that a motion of no confidence can effectively bring down the government,” declared the environmental deputy Julien Bayou.

The option of a referendum

If the motion of censure fails and the reform is finally adopted, the leftist opposition prepares an appeal before the Constitutional Council that would delay its enactment and give opponents more time to use their last cartridges, such as claiming a shared initiative referendum (RIP) to make the French decide directly.

The path involves several stages. First, you have to gather 185 deputies to introduce a bill.

Next, the Constitutional Council must ensure that the text does not refer to an issue already rejected in a referendum -which is not the case with this pension reform- nor that the law has already been enacted.

The window of opportunity is therefore very short.

“We have received messages from the Constitutional Council saying that we had to go quickly because the Government wants to promulgate the text very quickly. They are twisting our gesture a bit, ”explained the socialist senator on Wednesday patrick kannerassuring that the Council will be called “at the beginning of next week”.

If the Constitutional Council validates the bill, the most difficult part for parliamentarians will lie ahead: gather the signatures of one tenth of the electorate, that is, 4.87 million people. This has never been done before.

The President of the Republic would then be forced to call a referendum if the bill is not examined by the National Assembly or the Senate within six months.

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Scandal in the French parliament: Macron wants to impose his pension reform without the approval of the deputies