Dozens of spontaneous manifestations and groupings throughout the France to protest against the final passage of the pension reform. A few minutes after the news of the rejection of the no-confidence motion for the executive spread, groups of militants and citizens took to the streets across the country, giving rise to spontaneous protests. Clashes were also reported in the capital: near Palais Bourbon, the seat of the National Assembly, objects were thrown at the police who were trying to disperse them and some charges were fired with tear gas. Dumpsters and piles of rubbish left on the side of the road were also set on fire in the heart of Paris due to the strikes by garbage collectors that have been going on for weeks. The demonstrators accepted the invitation of the trade unions and the opposition, “this vote doesn’t change anything”, they say. And they are calling for the “withdrawal” of the reform. At the Elysée, the only decision made at the moment seems to have been to sleep over one more night: Emmanuel Macron Elisabeth Borne will receive tomorrow morning, then tomorrow evening at 19.30 all the parliamentarians of the majority.
The country risks being blocked, the refineries are closing, students are ready to take to the streets, transport, sanitation, healthcare, all sectors are ready to do battle “until the reform is withdrawn”, as Mélenchon and all the trade unionists repeat, more united that never. If the French gather in the squares despite the bans – many are students, the elderly, peaceful people, even if small groups are fighting against the police – agitation can be seen from the halls of the Elysée. Nine votes may not be enough to secure the government of Elisabeth Bornewhich could be sacrificed in the next few hours to allow for a change of leadership.
In the evening, the prime minister announced – going to the Elysée for a meeting with the president – that she wanted to “continue” her journey and reiterated that “pension reform is essential for the country”. From an institutional point of view, the left has already presented an appeal to the Constitutional Council for possible problems of legitimacy of the reform law. Moreover, the left proposes to embark on the difficult path of the so-called “shared initiative referendum”a form of consultation launched in 2015 which envisages the initiative of a fifth of parliamentarians and a tenth of voters (which in the case of France would be around 4.5 million signatures, a goal that cannot be taken for granted).
On the political level, it is above all expected that Emmanuel Macron, hitherto reserved on the uphill path of his reform, will finally take the floor to regain harmony with the French. Analysts are watching a “split country”with a president who would like to “move on” after the pension reform but who appears more politically isolated than ever and at his lowest in popularity (at 28%, as in the days of the “yellow vests”).
The much-awaited decisive day presented itself in a rather surreal parliamentary chamber, with Aurore Bergé, president of Macron’s Renaissance party, and Elisabeth Borne, defending themselves against the army of hostile explanations of vote from the left, from far right, and from the center of Liot, the party that presented the “transpartisan” motion of censure voted by 278 deputies, 9 fewer than the 287 that would have been necessary for the no-confidence to pass. Not even the deputies of Renaissance supported the two representatives of the majority, who left their benches almost empty, almost as if they didn’t want to appear with their faces in the foreground in a moment of great unpopularity. Whistles, shouts, fists banged on the benches, covered the words of Bergé and Borne as the applause accompanied the supporters of the motion. Then the result, a few votes less than the absolute majority of the Assemblée, with as many as 19 Républicains out of 61 having disobeyed the indication of the party bosses not to vote on motions against the government. A little later, the result of 94 votes collected by Marine Le Pen with her motion, voted by her and 6 other deputies.