From 49-3... to 47-1.
For nearly two weeks now, this little-known article of the Constitution has literally stolen the show from its neighbour.
Rendered highly unpopular since its regular use by Manuel Valls under the five-year term of François Hollande, “49 paragraph 3” allows the government to “
” a bill through the National Assembly.
Little used during Emmanuel Macron's first term, it recently returned to center stage, since Élisabeth Borne used it ten times, at the end of 2022, to have budgetary texts adopted.
But this Monday, the day of the presentation of the pension reform in the Council of Ministers, it is article 47-1 which is found at the heart of all the discussions of the political and parliamentary microcosm.
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Limited discussion time
For its reform - which consists of postponing the legal retirement age to 64 and conditioning the full rate on 43 years of contributions - the government has chosen to go through an amending social security finance bill (PLFSSR ).
A budgetary text, therefore, which would allow him to use “
” article 49-3 of the Constitution without however grilling his only cartridge of the session – only one 49-3 is authorized outside budgetary texts.
Above all, recourse to this legislative vehicle automatically entails the application of Article 47-1 of the Constitution.
A provision specific to all budgetary texts, which restricts the length of the debates in order to “
encourage parliamentarians to meet deadlines
”, explains public law lecturer Anne-Charlène Bezzina.
Thus, for this reform, Parliament will have a total of fifty days to debate, including only twenty for the first reading at the Palais Bourbon.
If the National Assembly has not decided on the first reading within twenty days after the filing of a bill, the government seizes the Senate which must rule within fifteen days
", specifies the Constitution.
In other words: if the debates drag on at the Palais Bourbon because of a parliamentary filibuster – a time promised by the Nupes, which seems to have since changed its mind – article 47-1 automatically cuts short the discussions.
Without even there being any need to adopt the text at first reading by a vote in the plenary session of the National Assembly.
It would seem very brutal, but it would be automatic after the twenty-day period
”, notes Anne-Charlène Bezzina.
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Moreover, this constitutional provision also limits the duration of the debates in the Senate, before the intervention of a joint committee (CMP), where senators and deputies try, in small committee, to find an agreement.
If a consensus is reached, the text then returns to the National Assembly, where it is submitted for validation or rejection by the deputies.
If the Parliament has not decided within a period of fifty days (in total), the provisions of the project can be implemented by ordinance
", specifies the Constitution.
No motion of censure possible
A scheme denounced by the opposition.
Parliament will have to study, in a few short weeks, a text that affects the lives of millions of people.
Never has a reform of this magnitude been dispatched in this way
, ”denounces LFI deputy Hadrien Clouet.
And for good reason, it is indeed the first time since 1958 that the 47-1 could be used to reform pensions.
Note, finally, that the 47-1 has another significant advantage for the executive.
Contrary to 49-3, the application of this article of the Constitution cannot be the subject of a motion of censure of the oppositions, and does not therefore open the way, in the event of adoption, to a reversal of the government.
This provision therefore seems “
” for the presidential camp.
Including, moreover, from a “
” point of view, some believe: “
People know 49-3, which is very unpopular because it is brutal.
But nobody knows the 47-1, it makes things easier for us
, ”wants to believe a macronist, not very worried about the first mobilizations against the reform.
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If it went to the end, the strategy could pay off for pension reform, on one condition: that the alliance with Les Républicains – and more particularly the senators – remains valid.
Because the Senate – with a majority on the right – sees this reform very favorably.
The LR parliamentarians of the Upper House have also been voting for four years on an amendment to the PLFSS aimed at pushing back the retirement age to 64... Knowing so far that it would be rejected by their colleagues in the Lower House. .
But now the reform defended by the executive is similar to what they are calling for.
I do not see how we can not vote for a reform that has been awaited for years
", thus repeated several times the boss of the LR senators,
After the hoped-for adoption in the Senate, and despite possibly obstructed debates in the Assembly, there would therefore be nothing left for the government to do but find an agreement in the CMP.
“Right-wing senators and majority deputies are in numerical superiority in CMP, which will easily make it possible to find a landing point in view of the deal between Les Républicains and Élisabeth Borne”
, hopes a Renaissance deputy.
The text resulting from the CMP would then be the subject of a solemn vote in second reading in the National Assembly, where it should be able to find a majority thanks to the votes from the Republicans.
Without even talking about the mobilization in the street, there is still an institutional path before the application of the reform, which Emmanuel Macron hopes for by the summer.