March 26, 2023

Article 47.1: what does it allow?  Can it be used for retreats?

The pension reform must be debated in Parliament from January 30. The text could meet strong opposition but the executive has a tool in hand to push the adoption of the bill: Article 47.1 of the Constitution.

The government said it did not want a forced passage for the pension reform. After ten appeals to 49.3 to adopt the finance bill, resorting to a new political weapon to push a highly contested reform could be badly perceived by the opposition and the French. But faced with the mobilization of the unions and the very slight majority who say they are ready to support the text, the executive may want to secure their backs so that their bill is adopted as it stands.

If Elisabeth Borne rejected the use of article 49.3 for the pension reform, the recourse to theSection 47.1 of the Constitution is always an option. By limiting the time limit for debates on pension reform in Parliament to 50 days, the parliamentary tool makes it possible to counter obstruction and reduce the opposition’s room for maneuver to challenge the text. Will the government use 47.1? Can he really and without risk?

What is Section 47.1 of the Constitution?

Article 47.1 of the Constitution is contained in a few lines and relates to the voting of social security financing bills. It imposes deadlines on the two constituent assemblies of Parliament to rule on the text for the first time before proceeding with the amendments to the bill and the traditional round trips between the National Assembly and the Senate: “If the National Assembly does not If the first reading is not pronounced within twenty days after the filing of a bill, the Government seizes the Senate which must decide within fifteen days. ” Without a decision by the deputies at the end of 20 days, the text will be sent without a vote to the Senate which will adopt it without difficulty, the upper house voting each year on an amendment to push back the retirement age. Then a joint joint committee will have to decide on a common text.

The other particularity which is of interest to the government in article 47.1 is specified in the rest of the text: “If Parliament has not decided within a period of fifty days, the provisions of the bill may be implemented. work by ordinance.” It must be understood that after fifty days without the opinion of Parliament, the text submitted to the deputies and senators can finally pass into force without the opinion of the elected officials being necessary.

Can Article 47.1 be used for pension reform?

The government has decided to present its pension reform as part of an amending social security financing bill (PLFRSS). This detail is very important since Article 47.1 of the Constitution can only be applied to texts that affect the Social Security budget and therefore, in this case, to pension reform. The executive can justify this legislative pirouette because it is indeed Social Security which is responsible for paying retirement pensions through theRetirement insurance. This insurance, which brings together the National Old Age Insurance Fund (Cnav) and its regional network (Carsat, CGSS, CSS), is responsible for calculating pensions and their allocation. Deputies and senators will therefore have 50 days, or rather 50 parliamentary sessions, to express their views on the pension reform.

Does the pension reform need 47.1 to be adopted?

It is a long debate and above all a long battle that is being prepared on the benches of Parliament. The pension reform, which is so controversial, must be debated in Parliament from Monday, January 30. In the Senate, with a majority on the right, the government should not encounter too much resistance, but in the National Assembly the matter is quite different. The deputies of the Nupes on the left and those of the National Rally on the far right can unite against the text. The presidential majority which supports the reform can however count on the possible vote of the Republicans, favorable to a postponement of the retirement age to 64 years. The pension reform is therefore likely to be adopted by the most common route.

But the support of elected Republicans for the vote on the pension reform is withering in the face of the major mobilizations of the unions and the French. Several politicians dissociated themselves from the group and others acknowledged that they could do better and improve the terms of the reform. Olivier Marleix, boss of the LR group in the Assembly, also declared on January 25 on France info that his comrades will “always have the freedom to vote” on the reform. With wavering supports, the circuitous route of 47.1 remains an option for the government to consider.

Is the government taking risks by using 47.1 for pensions?

The presentation of the pension reform in the PLRFSS is a strategy that can pay off for Elisabeth Borne and its government but like all roundabouts it comes with its share of risks. The executive has also been warned by the President of the Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius who warned in the columns of the chained duck that measures unrelated to the PLRFSS could be sanctioned. And this represents a significant number of measures: all those that do not relate to income and expenditure such as the employment of seniors, the criteria of arduousness, etc. The government exposes itself to the risk of seeing certain points rejected by the Constitutional Council.

In addition to the legal risks, the executive is also putting itself in political danger by once again depriving Parliament of its legislative power. By drastically reducing the duration of the debates, the government is also preventing constructive discussions and the search for a consensus on a project that is nonetheless essential. A consultation that the Prime Minister called for when she was appointed to Matignon. If it does not take the trouble to listen to the opposition or even the unions and the French people, who are mainly opposed to the pension reform, the government could lose all its legitimacy for the rest of the five-year term.

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