False start ! Or, rather, false arrival! It is according to… It is precisely 4:48 p.m. this Wednesday, March 15 and a press release falls on the WhatsApp thread of the LR group intended for journalists: “A conclusive CMP with three major advances, under the impetus of the Republicans, on behalf of the French !” Except… Nothing is right. Neither the date displayed, that of March 5 (sic), nor the time of dispatch: the mixed parity commission is absolutely not conclusive, for the simple reason that it has not yet finished the pension reform review. Whoops. The document is deleted within a minute. Too late, of course.
“Small internal failure”, we evacuate in the second at the direction of the group. The left-wing parliamentarians, themselves, make their honey of the blunder which, moreover, brings water to their mill on the assumption of a prior agreement between LR and the majority. “Olivier Marleix must have made a mistake when pressing the button, he was perhaps too eager to announce the pact, or the marriage of love. But the pact does exist, everything is tied up”, hastens to declare the socialist deputy Arthur Delaporte, member of the CMP. It was enough, however, to wait a little longer: almost an hour later, the fourteen parliamentarians – particularly those of Renaissance and LR – did indeed find a compromise on the text to be submitted, Thursday, to the solemn vote of the Senate and of the National Assembly.
The hardest part is yet to come, but the stage was still important. Monday evening, Élisabeth Borne and Olivier Dussopt received their small troop of negotiators at Matignon – Fadila Khattabi, Stéphanie Rist, Sylvain Maillard, Xavier Iacovelli, as well as the presidents of the majority groups – to settle the last arguments, define the last lines red, stop the last small concessions to be made to the right. It was about early retirement, hardship, overseas and, of course, long careers, one of the central points of dispute for refractory LR deputies around Aurélien Pradié.
Until this Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., they remained in constant contact, multiplying the phone calls, with the teams of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labor. Finally, according to the vice-president of the Renaissance group Sylvain Maillard, the Joint Joint Committee voted the long careers amendment in the same terms as those tabled by the deputies Les Républicains and Horizons… Less ambitious than that of Pradié. Crusaders at the Palais Bourbon, senators LR Catherine Deroche and René-Paul Savary, who participated in the CMP, confirm that certain so-called “long career” employees could work between 43 and 44 years old depending on their date of birth.
A “designated culprit”
This Wednesday evening, many of them congratulate themselves on the work of the day: the boss of the senators LR Bruno Retailleau, that of the deputies Olivier Marleix, the parliamentarians of the majority and members of the government, in the forefront of which Élisabeth Borne. But all remain in the unknown. What scenario for Thursday? Will the executive decide to go to the vote, or to use article 49-3 to force through? “Should we take the risk?”, we ask a leading minister. Vague answer to say the least: “That’s always the goal.” For several days now, Matignon has been trying to refine the number of votes in the Assembly that would allow him to vote on the text; to have the clearest possible estimate of defections. Within the majority, the debate rages: “If we use 49-3, I do not see how we leave, blows a Renaissance deputy close to the President of the Republic. Losing would be a slap, but we have a story to tell. write and a designated culprit: LR.” This is also the position of the MoDem and Horizons groups.
Over the hours, the hypothesis of a vote seems more and more likely. And, mechanically, that of a 49-3 to move away. By SMS, some members of the government are showing undisguised optimism. In private, Elisabeth Borne would not sweep away the idea of proposing a new reading to the Assembly and the Senate in the event of defeat Thursday at the Palais Bourbon. Until then, no odds, a lot – too much for some – has already been done to limit LR defections.
“We say we love them very much”
Tuesday noon, the phone of government spokesman Olivier Véran vibrates on the white tablecloth of the dining table. The touch screen displays the name of the deputy director of Elisabeth Borne’s office, Étienne Champion. The collaborator of the Prime Minister asks him to take care of Questions to the government relating to health policies, since the minister in charge, François Braun, will be absent that afternoon. One, on the public hospital crisis, will be asked by an LR, Jean-Jacques Gaultier; another, on the closure of maternity wards, by a member of the LIOT group, David Taupiac. It is therefore strongly advised to the spokesperson for power, described by some of his colleagues as too dry in his exchanges in the Assembly, to “treat” – without pun intended – his interlocutors of the day. Nothing is to be overlooked two days before the vote. Especially not the ego of parliamentarians. Imagine that everything is played on an abstention… An imperative that another minister summarized, the same day at this same lunch hour, with a broad mocking smile: “Until Thursday evening, we avoid giving arms of honor to Republicans and we say we like them very, very much.”
Would it have paid off? Following the CMP, Les Républicains held a group meeting behind closed doors and the tide might be turning. In any case, this is the feeling of LR deputy Maxime Minot, yet a fierce opponent of pension reform: “It would be lying to say that there has not been a de facto effort, that makes you think. change some people’s minds.” Same story with a close friend of Aurélien Pradié, Raphael Schellenberger, who praises within his camp “a desire to find a path of reconciliation”.
But since at the end of the end, the last word will return, as often, to Emmanuel Macron, this one brings together Wednesday evening, at the Elysee, his Prime Minister and the ministers concerned by the reform to ratify a final decision.