March 27, 2023
Illustrative photo taken in Paris on January 19, during the first day of mobilization against the pension reform
Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images Illustrative photo taken in Paris on January 19, during the first day of mobilization against the pension reform

Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Illustrative photo taken in Paris on January 19, during the first day of mobilization against the pension reform

POLITICS – On all fronts. Twenty days after the presentation of the pension reform, the government is still struggling to convince the public – and some members of the majority – the merits of the project. While the examination of the text begins this Monday in committee at the National Assembly, the executive is putting all its forces into the battle for this decisive step.

A few days from a second day of mobilization that the unions announce even more massive than that of January 19, the stake is immense for the head of government. The HuffPost takes stock of the three challenges facing the executive in getting the reform accepted.

Find the words and the right strategy

In recent days, two lines seem to be emerging within the executive. On the one hand, some ministers advocate a discourse of truth on the reform. “We must first send a message to the French: to put our pension system in balance, yes, we have to work more. We must not say anything else and assume it “pleaded the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin in The Parisian. A speech that echoes the blunder of the Minister of Relations with Parliament Franck Riester, who recognized that women will be more affected by the reform.

The exit of this discreet minister was received like blessed bread by the opposition, and a real pebble in the government’s shoe. Opposite, several executives of the majority plead for the “pedagogy”. Elisabeth Borne herself went to the front, at the Assembly on Tuesday January 24, in the field on Saturday 28, in the media the next day: “ I hear that the reform would penalize women who have choppy careers… it’s exactly the opposite! », she repeats on BFMTV from Calvados.

“We have to be offensive to explain things”hammered Clément Beaune on the show The Grand Jury this Sunday. In fact, only a handful of ministers find themselves on the front line in the media: Gabriel Attal, Olivier Véran and Olivier Dussopt multiply the interventions. Bruno Le Maire also risked it this weekend, not so much on the text as on the behavior to be had for the majority, the other major issue for the government.

Convince the entire majority (and the right)

“I call on the majority parties, Renaissance, Horizon, MoDem, to unite. When you belong to a majority, you support the proposals that were part of the presidential project.scolded the Minister of the Economy in the Sunday newspaper. The call to order comes when at this stage, there is no reason to say that the text will pass the Assembly stage.

“At the moment T, the account is not there”blows a macronist executive cited by the same JDD. In recent days, dissonant voices have been heard among the Renaissance deputies and their allies, in particular those of the former minister Barbara Pompili, of the MP for Hérault Patrick Vignal or the modem Richard Ramos. Even within Horizons, unanimity is not guaranteed.

Whereas the centrists came under fire on several proposed amendmentsFrançois Bayrou nevertheless wanted to be reassuring: “Of all the groups of the majority, the one that seems the most united in solidarity today is ours”, praised the boss of the Modem on Sunday January 29 on France Inter. But if he is optimistic, the recalcitrants have set several conditions for their support for the text: among other things, improving measures for the employment of seniors, limiting the inequality between women and men due to the decline in age or even establishing a review clause on passing the legal age.

This last point has the support of LR deputies, essential to have the reform adopted. On franceinfo on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne did not rule out such an adjustment: “At the end of the mandate, there is a review clause by nature which is the presidential election and the legislative elections. If we can introduce the fact that there will be, for example, in transparency, a progress report on where we are in the return to balance of our system, we can have this debate in Parliament ”she concedes.

Stand facing the street

Beyond this review clause, the government is counting on parliamentarians to “enrich the text”. Provided, however, that three criteria are met: do not increase spending, do not increase contributions and… agree to see the legal retirement age reduced. A point which is not “more negotiable”, decided the Prime Minister this Sunday.

” Provocation “ Fabien Roussel protested on Europe 1 a few hours later. The head of government “bulge the chest”she “Try to send a message that is: ‘we won’t move, we won’t back down’”abounds on BFMTV the boss of the Insoumis Manuel Bompard, who believes that “If we want to make it move, the mobilization in the street must extend, widen further and it must be forced to withdraw this reform”.

“Opinion is an element of the balance of power. (…) The government must listen to it” – Laurent Berger, in The world

Two days earlier, the secretary general of the CGT Laurent Berger warned the executive in the columns of the World. “The population is very unfavorable to the project, and this opinion is tending to gain momentum”, he advanced. “Opinion is an element of the balance of power. (…) The government must listen to it, Parliament must be concerned about what is happening everywhere”he adds, emphasizing that ignoring this context “would be a fault”.

Will Elisabeth Borne take the warning into account? This Sunday, Matignon announced the arrival of the Prime Minister on the show The Event, Thursday, February 2 in prime time on France 2. A chosen timing: the program will take place two days after the event, ie just enough time to analyze the fallout and thus take the pulse of public opinion. The interview will also take place the day after the vote on the text in the Finance Committee, a sort of foretaste of the debates in the hemicycle four days later. The ideal calendar for Elisabeth Borne to adjust – or not – her speech.

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