resim 224
resim 224

It is a decisive week ahead for pension reform. While the Senate has just adopted the text, the joint committee must meet to examine the bill. In the event of agreement on a common text, the latter will be sent for a vote by both chambers. However, nothing is gained if we believe the recent debates in the National Assembly, where the deputies did not manage to agree. For the executive, things could take a new turn if the National Assembly does not offer it a majority. What are the government’s other options if the bill fails?

The French will finally have an answer this week and find out if the controversial pension reform will finally be voted on. While the executive does not have an absolute majority in the National Assembly, the outcome of these debates seems more than uncertain and could hold surprises. This Wednesday, the joint joint committee, made up of seven deputies and seven senators, must therefore find an agreement around a common text, then submit it, again, to the Senate and the National Assembly.

For the time being, only 196 deputies, including 178 from the majority, have declared a favorable vote for this pension reform, according to BFMTV. The outcome of the vote therefore remains uncertain and is sparking discussions around a new system to follow. The executive could thus have recourse to article 49.3 to pass the reform in force and impose itself against the general opinion, but this decision would send an unfavorable signal to the French and to the unions.

In the event of an unfavorable vote by the National Assembly, the government can relaunch the text by parliamentary shuttle. The bill would then have to go back to the Senate, then to the National Assembly in order to resume work and discussions. However, nothing says that an agreement would be found this time and the back and forth could multiply without finding any purpose.

However, Article 47-1 of the Constitution limits the duration of debates in Parliament to 50 days. The government has thus triggered this option thanks to the integration of the text in the amending social security financing bill (PLFRSS). In this context, the debates should then end no later than March 26 at midnight.

The government could also use the so-called “last word” procedure. In this context, a single reading of the text would be carried out by each chamber. In the event of a lack of agreement between the Senate and the National Assembly, it is ultimately the National Assembly which would have the last word in the vote. As the Senate reminds us, the National Assembly can here “only repeat either the text drawn up by the joint joint committee […], or the last text voted by it, modified if necessary by one or more of the amendments adopted by the Senate”.

It remains to be seen whether this device would allow the executive to reach the threshold of 287 deputies required to obtain an absolute majority in the National Assembly. In any case, nothing prevents the government, in these two cases, from having recourse to Article 49.3.