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Pension reform: the equation is getting more complicated for the government


Hold. And get it right, before it’s too late. In the government, the relief that initially followed the presentation of its pension reform project on January 10 gave way to unease at the sight of processions of more than a million people in France on January 19. Then, to doubt. And if the flagship site of the second five-year term, whose examination in committee at the National Assembly begins on Monday, January 30, slipped into the background? The executive power has so far not convinced the French. It has even, in the space of a fortnight, tensed public opinion and raised concern in its own majority.

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The already narrow social base on which it relied has eroded. Bruno Le Maire’s fall warning, during a dinner at the Elysée Palace in September 2022, comes to mind those close to Emmanuel Macron: why wait, since the reform will weigh on power by 15 points of unpopularity ? Everyone has in mind the leap, noted on Wednesday by the Elabe Institute, of 10 points in a week in the rejection of the government project. Three quarters of the French consider it unfair. “This stiffening is undoubtedly linked to the fact that everyone realizes what this means in concrete terms”we read in the entourage of Elisabeth Borne.

But a clue worries the ministers and advisers interviewed by The world. Retirees, the only category that supported the reform, now say they are mostly opposed. “They felt spared, but evolve like the rest of the opinion on the feeling of injusticedescribes Bernard Sananès, president of Elabe. This can be explained by a return to solidarity with their children and grandchildren, and a fear of disorder imputed to the executive. However, this is the electoral base of Emmanuel Macron and a population that puts pressure on the right. »

“Toxic Cocktail”

A reversal that could influence the second part of the equation. The government fears losing the parliamentary base which – paradoxically in relative majority – was its main asset. The promise of a majority won thanks to the alliance with the right Les Républicains (LR), displayed in early January, allowed Elisabeth Borne to put away her weapon of 49.3. At Matignon, we are assured that the boss of the party, Eric Ciotti, and that of the group in the National Assembly, Olivier Marleix, have given their word. Without guarantee that the necessary forty LR votes will follow, fifteen having already said against … This fog thickens with the wind of revolt which crosses the majority, where a dozen deputies oppose the project. The vote in the National Assembly could be played with a handful of votes, jeopardizing the postponement of the legal age to 64 in 2030.

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