Retreats and 49.3, the longest day: playing the fool, atomic weapons and the threat of dissolution

But that’s not his style. Admittedly, Elizabeth Bourne is not a block of cold concrete, many have already seen her laughing out loud, teasing, even vulgarly … But she shed a tear – never. Eyes red and hazy, she addressed the deputies from Renaissance, Modem and Horizons, who had gathered for an intergroup on Thursday afternoon. That is, the pressure, fatigue, disappointment that overwhelm her, having just stepped down from the rostrum of the National Assembly.

Minutes earlier, to the songs of Insumis and the slapping of tables of elected officials of the RN, she held her government accountable by activating Article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass pension reform. pension reform. “Never was the question of my personal future taken into account in the decision just made,” she sincerely tells her troops, who, she knows, were then largely disappointed with the current transition made by the president and prime minister. In less than twenty-four hours, they confirmed a double failure: an error in finding the majority and an error in its method. Definitely, and definitely, LR were too weak allies to rely on. How did we get here?

“Promises bind only those who believe in them,” Charles Pasqua liked to repeat. This Wednesday, March 15th, is the end of the Joint Joint Committee (CMP) LR Group meeting. The deputies gradually put into the room of four columns, where a handful of journalists frolic. Two deputies, hostile to the reform, admit their doubts. They praise the calm exchange, their confidence is embarrassing. “It makes you think,” admits Maxim Maino. “Doubt is constantly present among decision makers,” adds Rafael Schellenberger. The next day, the two men will confirm their intention to vote against the project. They swear that they are ripe for their decision, one of their comrades is perplexed: “We confused the government. Some pretended to change their minds in order to get a vote,” he smiles. It was from the Actors Studio.

“I’m losing deputies”

Everyone hides their game, uncertainty reigns. Minutes after this final Wednesday meeting, LR group boss Olivier Marlet and LR president Eric Ciotti meet in the office of the first for a new count. Two oils are exchanged over the phone with Elizabeth Bourne. He is assured that 32 or 33 deputies of the Republic of Latvia are ready to vote for the reform. “I am losing deputies,” she would have told them, on the contrary, referring to her majority. The prime minister and several members of the government then join the Élysée Palace for a working meeting around Emmanuel Macron to evaluate the airbag for voting on Thursday at 3:00 pm. It’s time for optimism. By evening, we have already made good progress, and the environment of the Head of State is playing this card at their own discretion, “in order to put pressure on the Republicans,” according to the minister. The traditional leak organized by the palace indicates that Emmanuel Macron is ready to dissolve the Assembly in case of defeat in order to shake up the wavering LR and the recalcitrant majority. Everyone plays their own game.

This Thursday morning, it’s not the same story anymore. We continue to bluff in the ranks of the macronists, but the anxiety is palpable. On all floors where there are no calculators, we understand that this famous LR voice mattress is punctured. The threat of dissolution branded by Emmanuel Macron in the event of a negative vote? “Counterproductive among those who were willing to abstain and opposed,” says the elected LR.

At noon, the President of the Republic urgently gathers the tenors of the majority, the bosses of the groups and the bosses of the parties. François Bayrou is there, Edouard Philippe, he, in a videoconference. Aurora Bergé, President of the Renaissance Group, and Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin are more and more alone in defending the passage to the vote. It is incomprehensible for the majority leader: “If we lose, it is Macron who takes everything in the face! The defeat in the Assembly will not be with Berger, not with Darmanin, but with Macron. If they manage to convince him to go there and he loses, I won’t forgive them.”

Too little difference

Around 2:00 pm, Elizabeth Bourne realizes the facts, takes responsibility: despite phone calls, last attempts to get a few more votes, the gap is too small. She invites the president to resort to 49.3, and he agrees. “He preferred to carry out his reform by putting his prime minister and his government in the hole, rather than risk not being voted for and putting himself in danger,” the government member sums up. A council of ministers is urgently organized to allow Bourne to push the red button.

At 2:45 pm, Aurora Bergé was “furious,” according to a Renaissance parliamentarian who had just returned from the Élysée and addressed his troops in the Colbert room of the Palais Bourbon. Most renaissance elected officials insisted, as did their president, on trying to do so at 3:00 pm. “It’s normal because everyone is asking questions in the case of 49.3. We are interested in how we will be perceived at home in the district, whether we will be re-elected … ”, one of them explains. “I understand the president’s decision, but I’m disappointed. I think we should have gone to the vote, now we will be hard to hear,” continues another.

So we went from the threat of dissolution – by vote, real – to atomic weapons 49-3 within a few hours. One of the pillars of the Renaissance group, who crossed the hall of four pillars in the Assembly immediately after the announcement of Elizabeth Bourne in the half-cycle, notes the ineffectiveness of the strategy of the last days: gift amendments to the text on nuclear power, we told them we could give them a nudge from the state in their constituencies, we put a lot of pressure on them… Well, that wasn’t enough.”

“We demonized 49.3”

A few hundred meters from the Palais Bourbon, on the Place de la Concorde, a crowd of demonstrators began to gather. Smoke is rising on the other side of the Seine, songs are already being heard. Macroni is overcome by a sense of failure, it was enough to see the faces of Gabriel Attal, Gerald Darmanin or even Sebastien Lecornu on the bench, while their leader retracted his speech. “There was a big mistake this weekend,” blows a minister who has been in government for a long time. Born, Attal, Dussopt … They all repeated that we will not use 49.3. Result: we demonized him. Even more than he already was!”

The next decisive step will be a vote of no confidence. In the Republic of Latvia, at the end of the day, a vote was organized on the expediency of depositing. 10 deputies – for, including Aurélien Pradier, 35 – against. Lot’s viceroy evokes three evils: “Two extremes and the way Macroni has handled this debate.” “I refuse to have my name associated with the name of Le Pen when voting,” his colleague Emily Bonnivar responds. The leadership of the group has been tasked with limiting as much as possible the number of elected LRs willing to vote for one of the proposals made by other opposition groups.

More than ever, the word of Emmanuel Macron, who was supposed to speak to the French before the visit of the King of England at the end of March, is expected. A member of the government takes the bets, his silence seems to whisper about the “shuffling”: “In my opinion, everything will move very quickly. I don’t see Macron waiting long to express his opinion.”

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