Luis Miguel Pascual |
The Executive must seek in the chambers the majority that Macron’s party does not have to carry out a text that forces the French to delay their retirement for two years, with the argument put forward by the Government that it is the fairest way to preserve a system doomed to endemic deficit.
The “macronistas” will seek the support of traditional conservatives, who are in favor of lengthening careers, but cautious in the face of the climate of hostility to the reform that has been generated in recent weeks.
Although former president Nicolas Sarkozy, still very influential on the French right, has been in favor of Macron’s reform, the deputies prefer to keep cards up their sleeves for an eventual negotiation that does not dilute them.
A constructive position that the president is not finding in the other two large groups in the Assembly, the left, which has counterattacked with 20,000 amendments to the text that promises endless debates, and the extreme right, which waits patiently to capitalize on the discontent of the streets .
The thickness of the walls of the chamber will not be enough to prevent union noise from penetrating inside against a project that raises the minimum retirement age to 64, to 67 to collect the maximum, or that forces 43 years to accumulate quoted to be able to end working life.
A social setback that has reestablished the unity of the main unions in the country, broken in recent years, and that has returned to the streets of Paris the images of large demonstrations and blockades on public transport.
Two days of general strike in the last two weeks have shown the strength of the unions, which have already called another one for this Tuesday, to which a new day of protests will be added next Saturday.
Maintaining 62 years as the minimum retirement age has become an icon for worker representatives and delaying it in the central base of the Executive’s project, which makes it difficult to find areas of understanding.
The Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, who has become the face of the reform -Macron is staying in the background-, assures that working more is “essential” to preserve the current system, in which the active pay the pensions of retirees .
He also adds that his reform preserves those who have started working early, those who have harder jobs and women, who have generally interrupted their careers to take care of their children.
This Sunday he proposed in an interview with the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche to accept an amendment from the conservatives to bring forward to 63 years the retirement of those who have started working at 21 or less.
But all these safeguards do not convince the unions or the majority of the opposition, which has found a good battlefield to weaken Macron.
If the president does not achieve a parliamentary majority to carry out this reform, he will project an image of weakness that will hinder the rest of his term, the last one because French law does not allow chaining three.
It would have two scenarios before: a turn of the government rudder, with the appointment of a new head of government, or the dissolution of the chambers.
This second hypothesis, the most radical, would expose him to a defeat at the polls that would force him to cohabit the rest of his stay at the Élysée, until 2027, with a hostile government.
Its popularity is not going through a good moment and the pension reform, which polls say almost 7 out of ten French people do not like, has not helped to improve it.
But neither would other parties, such as the traditional right, face early elections in a good position, which may lead conservative deputies to support the pension reform.
The parliamentary game will, in any case, depend on the success of the union protests and their ability to block the country, which may condition the debate of the deputies.