“We don’t want 49.3. We want to turn our relative majority into an absolute majority.” This Sunday March 12, 2023, at the end of a surprise meeting of ministers at Matignon, Olivier Véran, the spokesperson, assured that the government did not wish to resort to article 49.3 of the Constitution. “Our method is to seek agreements, a consensus. It is our choice,” he added.

However, just a few days before the decisive vote, this majority seems to be still far from being achieved. The support of the group Les Républicains in the National Assembly seems to be less and less intense. Several deputies have already affirmed that they would not vote for the reform. According to 20 Minutes, at present out of 61 deputies between 30 and 35 should vote for the text while fifteen could oppose it and ten should abstain.

The result of the vote could therefore be very close and be decided by a few votes. For the government, the desire to avoid seeing the vote turn against them could perhaps push the Prime Minister to deploy article 49.3.

However, this choice would also entail its share of risks. Indeed, the social anger provoked by the pension reform could intensify in the event of recourse to the very unpopular article 49.3. The popularity of the president and ministers could also see a sharp drop in the polls.

Finally, the adoption of the text by 49.3 would also give the opposition the opportunity to file a motion of censure. If, so far, they have been unsuccessful, several parties on the right and on the left could this time join forces and table a cross-partisan motion.

In the ranks of LR deputies, several have shown themselves to be openly opposed to the pension reform. Among them, some plan to get closer to elected leftists and the LIOT group (Liberties, Independent, Overseas Territories) to table a joint motion of censure.

“If we do it, it’s with reasonable people, Gaullists. Communists for example” declared an LR deputy to BFMTV, excluding the Insoumis. On the other hand, the Socialist Party and Europe Ecologie les Verts have been approached. If an elected representative of the first greatly considers this option, an EELV deputy expresses some nuances and specifies to our colleagues “it must be a broad motion”. The content should therefore be as consensual as possible, thus avoiding detailing an alternative reform.

On the side of the National Rally, the president of the party Jordan Bardella confirmed this Sunday, March 12 during the program Questions politiques by France Inter, franceinfo and Le Monde “There are discussions today in the National Assembly” on a cross-partisan no-confidence motion and “the government has a chance of falling”.

While adding “it is in the interest of all French people, of the French social model, that the oppositions perhaps agree to table a motion of censure which will bring down the government if the choice of 49.3 is made “.

However, if the motion of censure were to be adopted, Emmanuel Macron could well invoke the dissolution of the National Assembly, as he had threatened last September. “If there is a motion of censure which is voted, I dissolve immediately”, he had declared. A threat that could perhaps slow down some elected officials in their enthusiasm.