Motion of censure: why LR calms things down

Motion of censure why LR calms things down

Gabriel Attal likes to exchange with elected representatives of Les Républicains (LR). The ambitious Macronist is not the sectarian type, to hold his nose in the face of his opponents. Speaking with this turbulent partner in the Assembly, isn’t that the best way to understand him? Before the summer break, an LR deputy opens up to the one who is still Minister of Public Accounts. “There will be no censorship on the budget. We will fracture ourselves. And which MP will want to go to dissolution because a finance law would lack blood and tears?” After the retirement episode, Gabriel Attal had already confided to a party leader his optimism about the autumn budget.

The new Minister of Education can sleep soundly. The right calms things down, after showing its muscles before the summer. The President of the Senate Gérard Larcher spoke of a risk of “accidentology” during the examination of the budget, in tune with several party executives. Time for appeasement. “Bringing down the government is not an objective”, assured LR boss Éric Ciotti on August 31 on France 2, insisting on the need to “straighten France”.

A risky maneuver

The right is replaying its favorite hit: that of a responsible opposition, which does not want to add “chaos to chaos”. The destabilization of institutions less than a year before the Olympic Games is good for La France Insoumise (LFI) and the National Rally (RN). A government party cannot stoop to such low tasks. And too bad if the RN depicts the right – with a pivotal role in the Assembly – as a crutch of Macronism.

These noble intentions are very self-serving. Éric Ciotti and Laurent Wauquiez are eyeing the right-wing Macronist electorate with a view to 2027. Both know how the outbreak of a political crisis could compromise their return to the fold. Éric Ciotti is trying to embody a unique opposition at the head of LR, capable of adopting the pension reform as well as rejecting the text on immigration. Laurent Wauquiez combines in his rare interventions a right-wing speech of moderation towards the executive. Embodying alternation, yes. Brutal opposition, no.

And then, a fall of the Borne government would be a leap into the unknown. A possible dissolution of the Assembly – the prerogative of the president – would open the way to dangerous legislative elections for a recovering party. The right has no national incarnation and has shown a muddled face since the start of the legislature. The 62 survivors of the Valérie Pécresse debacle would perhaps not all survive new elections.

A divided group

This fear, which encourages the party’s general staff to be cautious, is fueled by the porosity between the Macronist electorate and that of LR. “In the event of dissolution, Macron could play the card of opposition between the blockers and those who want to continue to advance. This could awaken part of the center-right electorate in search of order, who does not want brothel”, notes an LR executive. The president of the LR group Olivier Marleix privately admits the difficulty for his camp to emerge against the three blocs, barely a year after the legislative elections. “Macron has installed a detestable landscape in which we have the choice between extreme centrism, the radicalism of Mélenchon and the populism of Le Pen. If we overturned the table, that would be the political offer! So we have no no other way than to chomp at the bit, telling ourselves that after the Olympics, the presidential campaign will then begin.”

Patience is a virtue. A necessity, too. The LR group would today be hard pressed to collect 58 signatures – the minimum threshold set by the Constitution – to table a motion of censure. This group is less of a bloc than of an aggregate of individualities. There we find absolute opponents of the head of state as well as elected officials in favor of increased collaboration for the executive. Amazing diversity. It reveals the theoretical dimension of the debate around motions of censure, but can create internal fractures.

Pradié wants to fight it out

Aurélien Pradié does not fear this divide. The Lot deputy is pushing internally for an offensive. Like several of his colleagues, he judges that LR will only rebuild itself by embodying total opposition to the head of state. His theory: the salvation of the right will come from a reconquest of the working classes and not the right-wing Macronists. The “responsible” opposition praised by Eric Ciotti would be a chimera. “You have to be understandable in politics,” he confides. “No one would understand that we remain in an intermediate position.” The defender of pension reform remains in the minority for the moment.

This debate could finally resurface during the examination of the immigration bill. Olivier Marleix brandishes the threat of a motion of censure in the event of the adoption of a “lax” law by 49.3. Several MPs are ready to show their fangs on a genetic subject. Responsibility during the budget to speak to the right-wing Macronists, the virulence on immigration to mark its differentiation. “We may have to send a signal,” slips the vice-president of the group Patrick Hetzel. And again, a vehement text against the executive’s migration policy accompanying the motion could put off the left. “That doesn’t mean that it passes if we put it down, but we put it down. Ciotti doesn’t want legislative elections now,” analyzes an LR strategist. Showing your fangs, even if it means revealing baby teeth?