the executive opts for 49.3, surprise demonstration at Concorde

Jacques Serais with AFP
modified to

12:16 a.m., March 17, 2023


The executive has decided on the pension reform. Coming out of an emergency meeting this early Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne committed to the National Assembly, under the boos of left-wing deputiesthe responsibility of his government on the highly contested pension reform through Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows adoption of the text without a vote. The leader of the RN Marine Le Pen announced that she was going to file a motion of censurean initiative that could be emulated by the Liot group.

At the end of the day, thousands of people gathered at Place de la Concorde in Paris, opposite the National Assembly, to express their opposition to the reform, despite 49.3. At 10:00 p.m., 120 people had been arrested, in particular for participating in a group to commit damage, the Paris police headquarters (PP) told AFP. The police intervened on the square around 8:00 p.m., in particular with water cannons, after an attempt to degrade the Obelisk site, in the center of the square.

Information to remember:

  • Elisabeth Borne activated 49.3 under boos at the Assembly
  • Marine Le Pen has announced that she is filing a motion of censure
  • Éric Ciotti indicates that LR will not vote “any motion of censure”
  • The Prime Minister will be this Thursday evening on the 8 p.m. news on TF1
  • The secretary general of the CFDT Laurent Berger announced “new mobilizations”
  • Thousands of people gathered at Place de la Concorde in Paris

On TF1, Elisabeth Borne says she is “very shocked” by the “cries” of the Assembly

Elisabeth Borne said Thursday evening “very shocked” by the boos of the opposition in the hemicycle of the National Assembly, when she engaged the responsibility of her government on the pension reform by article 49.3, which allows adoption of the text without a vote.

“I was not angry. I was very shocked,” said the Prime Minister on TF1. “Parliament, the National Assembly, is the place for debate. If we don’t want to listen to each other, that reflects the fact that a certain number of groups do not respect our institutions (…) Chaos, the disorder it is the modest French who pay the consequences”.

Recognizing that “the account does not [était] not” to allow the government to go through a vote, Elisabeth Borne took the opportunity to castigate the attitude of the LR deputies who did not wish to support the text. “Some, within the LR group, played a card personal,” she said.

The police intervene on the Place de la Concorde occupied by the demonstrators

The police intervened early Thursday evening on the Place de la Concorde, in the heart of Paris, where thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest against the pension reform, noted AFP journalists .

According to the police headquarters of the capital (PP), the police went into action, in particular with water cannons, after an attempt to damage the site of the Obelisk, in the center of the square. These interventions caused major crowd movements in the square, according to AFP journalists.

The inter-union announces a national mobilization next Thursday

The inter-union fighting against pension reform called Thursday for “local local rallies” this weekend, and a ninth day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday March 23, after the government’s decision to resort to 49.3 to pass his reform. Denouncing a passage “in force”, the inter-union “measures with seriousness the responsibility that the executive bears in the social and political crisis which results from this decision, a real denial of democracy”, she writes in a press release.

Transport, energy: trade unionists fear “overflows”, after the use of 49.3

In the transport and energy sectors, at the forefront of the challenge to the pension reform project, several union officials warned Thursday of possible “excesses” or “individual actions” by grassroots employees, after the government’s decision to have recourse to Article 49.3.

“I don’t see anything strong and hard, it’s going to be something hidden, actions here and there, with the risk of overflowing. It could turn into anything,” he said to AFP Jean-Christophe Delprat, federal secretary FO in charge of the RATP. For Frédéric Ben, in charge of gas at CGT Energie, who has been coordinating the strike on all Storengy gas storage for many days, “a certain insurrection is possible”. “We are fighting the radicalization of the movements, (…) but on a picket line, there are not only CGT (strikers), and the agents, they do what they want”, he said. he declares.

Several thousand demonstrators at Place de la Concorde, rallies in France

A few thousand people were demonstrating on Thursday at Place de la Concorde in Paris to protest against the pension reform and the triggering of article 49.3, and rallies were taking place in other cities in France, AFP journalists noted. Since mid-afternoon, demonstrators have gathered at the call of the Solidaires union on Place de la Concorde, not far from the National Assembly where Elisabeth Borne triggered Article 49.3.

They were joined shortly after 4:30 p.m. by demonstrators massed near the National Assembly and by a procession of more than 1,600 young people who left the Place de la Sorbonne, shouting “Emmanuel Macron, president of the bosses, we are coming to get you from your home. you” and “Down with 49.3”, noted an AFP journalist. According to a police source, they were “a few thousand” in Paris.

Other rallies were organized in France, such as in Grenoble, where 200 to 300 people had gathered since mid-afternoon in front of the prefecture. In Lyon, a demonstration gathered some 400 people around 5 p.m. in front of the prefecture to cries of “Macron resignation”. A majority of FSU and CGT trade unionists were visible in the rally, which took place peacefully. Another demonstration was planned later in the evening in front of the town hall of Lyon.

In Bordeaux, about 300 people gathered from 5 p.m. at the call of the inter-union with the aim of going to the permanence of the Renaissance deputy Thomas Cazenave. Gatherings were also announced in Toulouse, in Tulle in front of an LR office, as well as in front of the town halls of Bayonne and Hendaye and in several towns in Vienne, including Poitiers.

Éric Ciotti indicates that LR will not vote “any motion of censure”

“We will not associate ourselves with any motion of censure and will not vote on any motion of censure”, warned Thursday Eric Ciotti, after the government used 49.3 for pension reform. “We do not want to add chaos to chaos”, justified the boss of LR, however contradicted shortly after by the deputy Aurélien Pradié, opposed to the reform, who for his part considered that “each deputy remains completely free to go participate in another vote of no confidence”. “I do not rule out any hypothesis by definition”, added the deputy of Lot.

Emmanuel Macron invoked “too great financial risks” to justify 49.3

The President of the Republic would have justified the use of 49.3. “My political interest would have been to go to the vote. Among you all, I am not the one who is risking his place or his seat. But I consider that, as things stand, the financial and economic risks are too great. It is the reason why I accept your request to engage your responsibility on this text”, would have declared Emmanuel Macron according to a participant in the extraordinary council of ministers.

“There will be a vote on the text. It is provided for by our institutions. It is the motion of censure,” said the head of state. “We cannot play with the future of the country,” he insisted, according to this participant.

Laurent Berger announces “new mobilizations” after 49.3

“There will be new mobilizations” against the pension reform, CFDT secretary general Laurent Berger told AFP on Thursday, denouncing a “democratic vice” after the government’s decision to activate the constitutional weapon of the 49.3 to have his reform adopted.

“Obviously there will be new mobilizations, because the protest is extremely strong, we already have a lot of reactions from the union teams. We will decide together in an inter-union”, which will be held Wednesday evening at the headquarters of the CGT , he added.

Elisabeth Borne will be at 8 p.m. on TF1 this Thursday evening

After the announcement of the use of 49.3 to pass the pension reform, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne will be on the TF1 8 p.m. newspaper this Thursday evening, the channel announced.

Motions of censure soon tabled

A few minutes after leaving the hemicycle, the president of the National Rally group in the Assembly, Marine Le Pen, announced that she was going to file a motion of censure and considered that Elisabeth Borne “cannot stay” at Matignon. “It’s a statement of total failure” for Emmanuel Macron, she added, considering that the situation is that of a “political crisis”.

Fabien Roussel, the general secretary of the PCF, also announced that he was going to submit a referendum of shared initiative. He also adds that a “motion of censure is ready so that it receives as much support as possible and that it can be defended by the LIOT group”, he detailed on BFM TV.

Elisabeth Borne booed on her arrival in the hemicycle

Arriving in the hemicycle of the National Assembly, Elisabeth Borne was booed by the opposition, who also sang The Marseillaise. The sitting was suspended for two minutes. The Prime Minister ended up speaking at the podium, in front of LFI deputies calling for her “resignation”.

The Prime Minister finally triggered 49.3. “On the basis of article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution, I engage the responsibility of my government on the whole of the amending bill for the financing of Social Security for 2023”, she declared. Before adding: “today, on the text of the Parliament, uncertainty hangs over a few votes. We cannot take the risk of seeing 175 hours of parliamentary debate collapse. We cannot take the risk to see the compromise built by the two Assemblies, discarded. We cannot bet on the future of our pensions, and this reform is necessary”, justified Élisabeth Borne in an electric atmosphere.

“A vote will take place” however, added the head of government, anticipating the filing of a motion of censure. “In a few days, I have no doubt, the government’s commitment to responsibility will be answered by one or more motions of censure. A vote will therefore take place, as it should. And so it is parliamentary democracy who will have the last word“, she developed.

An exceptional Council of Ministers 15 minutes before the start of the session at the Assembly

Emmanuel Macron convened an exceptional council of ministers, only 15 minutes before the start of the session at the National Assembly. The Head of State did not want to come to this. The meetings have followed one another at the Elysée since Thursday morning: a first meeting at 8:15 a.m., a second at noon and then a third at 2 p.m. The executive wanted to ensure that in the event of a vote, the town would obtain an absolute majority.

Emmanuel Macron therefore waited until the last moment, but he never had the certainty that the text would be adopted by the deputies. That’s why he decided to activate the 49.3. Place in the Assembly now. But beware, this is not without risk for the government. Élisabeth Borne, the Prime Minister, is now exposed to a motion of censure from the deputies.

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