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Pension reform: five minutes to understand the controversy over the referendum motion


The Nupes and the RN have tabled a motion to set up a referendum on the pension reform. But the choice of motion RN pl

“Are you for or against pension reform?

This is the question that the deputies of the New People's Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) and the National Rally (RN) dream of asking the French, while the debates opened in committee before those planned from Monday in the hemicycle.

The oppositions have tabled a referendum motion to this effect, but the decision to debate only that of the RN is controversial.

What is a referendum motion?

This “referendum motion” is provided for in article 122 of the regulations of the National Assembly.

A similar system is in place in the Senate.

This consists of a referendum proposal on a text presented by the government.

This must be initiated by at least one tenth of the deputies, or 58 parliamentarians.

After a debate, this motion – like a motion of censure – is debated in the Assembly and put to the vote.

If a referendum motion is adopted in the National Assembly, the discussion of the contested bill is immediately suspended, then the motion is transmitted and put to the vote in the Senate.

If it is voted on there within thirty days, it then becomes a referendum proposal made to the President of the Republic, who has the choice of whether or not to organize this referendum.

"Never, in the Fifth Republic, did the two assemblies come to an agreement", reminds the Parisian Gilles Toulemonde, lecturer in public law at the University of Lille.

Read alsoPension reform: 5 minutes to understand article 47-1 of the Constitution

Not all texts can be the subject of a referendum and therefore of a referendum motion.

Article 11 of the Constitution thus provides for the possibility of consulting the population on “the organization of public powers”

​​(the passage from seven to five years of the duration of the mandate of the President of the Republic in 2000, for example)

, “ on reforms relating to economic or social policy and the public services which contribute to it” or to “authorize the ratification of a treaty”

(a constitution for Europe in 2005 or the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992)


Against the pension reform, provided for in the amending social security financing bill (PLFRSS), the Nupes just like the RN have filed a referendum motion.

The first, filed on January 23, was signed by 98 deputies from the left, the second, on January 24, by 60 deputies.

“The purpose of a referendum motion is essentially political,” continues Gilles Toulemonde.

It is above all to say:

You see, the majority does not want to listen to the people



Why is it controversial?

The regulations of the National Assembly also provide that only one referendum motion may be examined per bill.

The Conference of Presidents of the National Assembly therefore had to decide on Tuesday which will be discussed.

The situation had never occurred before, the opposition to the majority being generally made up of a single large group.

The draw decided that it would be that of the National Rally, signed by fewer deputies and tabled later, which would be discussed as soon as the debates open on February 6.

"The simple fact that a draw was proposed to decide between the two referendum motions is an arbitrary decision that is not based on any provision", denounced in a joint letter the presidents of the left groups to the president of the Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet, asking "the cancellation of the draw", reproaching that the filing of the motion of the RN was taken into account, while that of the Nupes had already been "acted" by the Conference of presidents.

The Nupes is based on the analytical table, which accompanies the rule of the National Assembly.

This specifies that “only one (

referendum motion

) can be tabled”.

From this reading, that of the National Rally could therefore not have been accepted.

“But this appendix is ​​not subject to a vote, it is not the regulations of the National Assembly, it is an error which will undoubtedly be corrected in the future”, notes Gilles Toulemonde.

Is it likely to succeed?

The referendum motion, whether filed by the Nupes or by the RN, has in any case little chance of succeeding.

It would indeed be necessary to obtain the majority of the votes of the deputies for that, which is difficult to envisage given the composition of the hemicycle.

And even if the motion were to be adopted, it would have little chance of being voted on in the Senate, with an LR majority.

In the end, in any case, it is the President of the Republic who decides alone whether he wants to organize a referendum.

The referendum motion could be all the more a failure if it is that of the RN which were to be kept against the pension reform, it could not collect all the votes of the deputies of the Nupes.

“I will not vote for this referendum motion because there is no possible collaboration with this movement, in any way, even on the same text”, explained the ecologist deputy from Paris Sandrine Rousseau.

This is the line that the left-wing coalition has been trying to hold since its inception, having for example refused to vote on the various motions of censure proposed by the deputies of Marine Le Pen.

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2023-02-01

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