The French government, targeted by two motions of censure, in the midst of a political crisis

The French government, targeted by two motions of censure, in the midst of a political crisis


Two motions of censure were tabled on Friday against the French government, plunged into a political crisis the day after its forced passage on the pension reform, which amplified social anger and triggered unrest in several regions of the country .

These motions should be examined in the National Assembly on Monday from 4 p.m., parliamentary sources told AFP, subject to validation just before the session.

The deputies of the centrist independent parliamentary group Liot announced to the Assembly the tabling of a “transpartisan” motion of censure of the government, co-signed by elected representatives of the NUPES (radical left).

The National Rally (far right) also tabled a motion of censure on Friday, castigating an “unfair and unnecessary reform”.

These steps are responses to President Emmanuel Macron's decision to resort to weapon of Article 49.3 of the Constitution which allows the adoption of a text without a vote in the Assembly, unless a motion of censure were to overthrow the government.

This choice on this very unpopular pension reform, against which many French people have mobilized since January 19, “is the apogee of a denial of democracy unacceptable in its constancy and its contempt for our institutions and our social bodies” , is it written in particular in the text of Liot's motion.

On Friday, the general secretary of the reformist union CFDT, Laurent Berger, called on the French president to “withdraw the reform” from pensions. “The president must withdraw the reform, or he must not promulgate it. Putting out the fire is not linked to the change of prime minister or change of government, it is to withdraw the reform,” Berger told reporters.

The motion of censure tabled by the Liot parliamentary group is the one that could potentially cause the government the most problems because of its transpartisan side.

“His fault”

To bring down the government, a motion of censure will have to collect an absolute majority in the Assembly, ie 287 votes. This would require in particular that around thirty right-wing deputies Les Républicains (out of 61) vote for the motion of the Liot group, in addition to filling up the other opponents, a hypothesis which seems a priori improbable.

The French government has chosen to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 in response to the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population. France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, without the pension systems being completely comparable.

This measure of the postponement of the legal retirement age crystallizes anger, against a backdrop of renewable strikes.

The various opinion polls show that the majority of French people are hostile to it, even if the number of demonstrators in the streets and strikers has stagnated or receded over time.

The use of 49.3 is almost unanimously considered a setback for Emmanuel Macron, who has bet a lot of his political credit on this key reform of his second five-year term.

“Pension crisis: his fault”, thus headlined the newspaper Liberation (left) with a portrait of Emmanuel Macron in the background.

Continuation of the railway strike

The inter-union called for “gatherings local unions this weekend” and a ninth “big day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday, March 23”.

The union leaders do not hide their fear of seeing the social movement overflow the centrals.

“We had written in our inter-union letter that after a while not being listened to, and going to 49.3, it would be an amplified anger and that there were risks of social explosion”, has estimated by AFP the president of the CFTC, Cyril Chabanier.

In Paris as in the provinces, more or less spontaneous demonstrations were punctuated Thursday evening by overflows, with vandalized street furniture, garbage cans burnt, smashed windows, and, in Dijon (east), effigies of President Macron and several ministers burned under the eyes of trade unionists.

A thorny consequence of the renewable strikes among garbage collectors – who underline the arduous nature of their work – the health situation in Paris, the world capital of tourism, is worsening: the bar of 10,000 tonnes of uncollected waste was reached on Friday in mid- day, according to the estimate of the town hall, on the twelfth day of the strike.

Partial blocking of the Paris ring road, the station of Toulon (south) or Bordeaux (south-west), demonstrations… : the opponents of the reform resumed the fight sporadically on Friday.

Regarding the state of rail traffic, the four representative unions of the national company SNCF called on Friday to “maintain the strike “Begun on March 7 and” to act massively on March 23 “to oppose the pension reform. CGT-Cheminots, Unsa-Ferroviaire, SUD-Rail and CFDT-Cheminots also invite rail employees to “multiply unit actions and initiatives from this weekend in all territories”.