It is the stake in the stake. What will the LRs vote on pensions, if the government decides to present the reform by way of amendment in the Social Security Budget in the fall? The Social Security financing bill (PLFSS) could well be the chosen option. In the Assembly, the relative majority will require the executive to find votes beyond its camp, or failing that, to force through 49.3. In the Senate, where 49.3 does not exist, the position of the LR group will be scrutinized. For the right, a form of dilemma could quickly arise: either vote (if the idea is adopted), a postponement of the legal retirement age, a measure that they have been carrying for years. But at the risk of once again voting for a government text and appearing to be barely audible. Either find the means to oppose, but this time at the risk of finding yourself in full contradiction.
To complicate matters, the state of mind differs between LR deputies and senators. In addition, the LRs are in the middle of an internal campaign for the presidency of the party, with the favorites on the one hand the deputy Eric Ciotti and on the other a certain Bruno Retailleau, who is none other than the president of the LR group of the Senate. .
“It would be complicated for them to say that they are against the reform because they are against the method. It traps them.”
In the presidential majority, we look at the situation, not without interest. “I don’t think they will vote. Not in full congress”, entrusts a figure of the Renaissance group to the Assembly. “We will see, the LRs will be in the electoral campaign. I fear that the goal of the game is to be as anti-Macron as possible, ”confirms a majority MP. “With the LR, things can be built”, thinks, more optimistically, a minister, “but we do not feel the dynamic between Eric Ciotti in the Assembly and Bruno Retailleau in the Senate”.
A deputy from the LR does not believe in a rejection. “They will support. They cannot do otherwise. This is the only subject where they have a precise idea”, mocks the elected official, “they are not going to oppose an amendment when they are full of them in the PFLSS…” “We feel a difference between the LRs of the Assembly and the LRs of the Senate. But it will be difficult to say that doing pensions in the PLFSS is against democracy, when they have been carrying out the reform for years, ”also advances a framework of the presidential majority in the Assembly, who wonders on their positioning: “Afterwards, will there be a polarization because they are in the middle of a congress? It would be complicated for them to say that they are against the reform because they are against the method. It traps them. It forces them to position themselves on a very identity issue for the right-wing electorate.
“Of course, they think to trap us like that. We are aware of it”
A trap “. The word is out. On the right, the risk has not escaped anyone. Starting with René-Paul Savary. Senator LR is the retirement gentleman of his group in the Senate. It is he who brings year after year an amendment, during the PLFSS precisely, pushing back the legal retirement age (to 63 years old in 2018, 64 years old in 2019, again 63 years old in 2020, then 64 years old in 2021, during the last Social Security budget). “Of course, they think to trap us like that. We are aware of it. But we have the opposite position. What matters is not to trap the LRs. But that there is a pension reform that corresponds to the expectations of the French, ”supports the senator from Marne.
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In the Senate, its president, Gérard Larcher, held an opening speech. “The reform is essential,” he said again this Thursday morning on France 2, “in any case, in the Senate, we will have the debate on pensions, since for three years, we have had an amendment which comes to us from the social affairs committee, in the PFLSS”. “We will assume our responsibilities”, assures the former Minister of Labour, while recalling his attachment to “social dialogue”.
“An amendment falling from above on the PLFSS is unacceptable” for Bruno Retailleau
On France Inter, Bruno Retailleau distanced himself from the way. “In terms of method, an amendment falling from above on the PLFSS is unacceptable” loose the boss of the LR senators. His group certainly used the path of amendment, but because “it is the only way for Parliament to act. I said to Elisabeth Borne, if you really want to pass this reform in the PLFSS, pass it in the initial text ”, which will be presented next week in the Council of Ministers.
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If the LR amendment adopted last year pushed back the retirement age “to 64”, while accelerating the Touraine reform on the contribution period, “this system would only apply after a period of dialogue and of consultation. […] One cannot reform with total disregard for social dialogue. If the social dialogue fails, obviously, the ax falls,” explains Bruno Retailleau. In spirit, this is actually what the government was defending for the abortive reform of the previous five-year term.
“We can vote for things that correspond to our expectations, without qualms” supports René-Paul Savary (LR)
Will the senators be ready to vote again for a postponement of the legal age? According to René-Paul Savary, the answer is rather clear: “Of course, we can vote for things that correspond to our expectations, without qualms. You have to know whether Parliament is there to build or obstruct. And we are in an opposition party capable of building.
René-Paul Savary “thinks that we will remain, for the moment, on our positions”. Namely “a postponement to 64 years” and “proposing a conference of funders to involve the social partners. We always have a perspective of consultation with the social partners. But if the discussions do not succeed, we would propose age measures ”. The one who is also a member of the COR (pension orientation council) remains cautious despite everything. “We will refine all of this according to the position of the government”, specifies the senator from Marne. But for René-Paul Savary, the LRs cannot “be satisfied with an opposition posture. We are responsible elected officials”.
“I am not sure that we will vote for the PLFSS at the end” affirms Senator LR Jérôme Bascher
It remains to be seen if all the LRs are on the same line. “We are open, but not only for a measure within the PLFSS, but to discuss a pension reform globally”, advances Jérôme Bascher, senator LR from Oise, according to whom to vote “an age measure , and that’s it, it’s a pecuniary reform, but not pensions. It is not worthy”. For him, “it is a whole project that is needed, and to have it voted on in the first quarter of 2023”. Will the LRs vote for the government amendment? Here the answer differs. ” It is not certain. There will be other things in the PLFSS. And I’m not sure we’ll vote for the PLFSS at the end”, warns Jérôme Bascher, who denounces the desire to put the right in the trap on pensions:
The policy of small traps is stop. […] Macron is trying to make little publicity stunts but we’re not here to serve him the soup.
The boss of LR deputies, Olivier Marleix, estimated on France Info on Wednesday that an amendment was “not the right framework”. “That’s not how you govern a country, unless you want to set it on fire”, points out the deputy, who will however wait to see the text to adopt a position of his group.
“That’s LR’s overall problem. Most of the things Macron does, the LRs would do too…”
But according to a Renaissance deputy, “the LRs cannot fall into a ridiculous debate on the amendment. They would make the same reform. This is the global problem of LR. Most of the things that Macron does, the LRs would do too… ”This deputy, who comes from the right, taunts his former friends:
If they vote, they take themselves for a piece of sugar. They have the impression that Gaullism is going to dissolve. I thought Gaullism was rock solid. They want to exist.
LRs may also seek to take advantage of the situation. “In the Senate, I don’t see them accepting the Assembly’s amendment point blank. No doubt they will want to modify it. But I do not see them opposing the approach which would like us to move forward, ”according to François Patriat, president of the RDPI (Renaissance) group in the Senate. This faithful Emmanuel Macron assures him: “It is not a trap. They will say that they have been asking for it for three years. They will turn this into victory for them. They will not deny themselves, from the moment they win their case, ”imagines François Patriat. This is already what Bruno Retailleau explained, to justify the vote of the LRs on the purchasing power or health texts. It is their text that the government voted for, and not the other way around. Enough to find an honorable way out for everyone.