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The pension crisis marks the end of “original macronism”


September 2022. Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected for several months, but his five-year term has still not started. His majority spent the summer finding ways to stem the decline in purchasing power, his ministers talk about sobriety as winter approaches but no one really knows what the re-elected president will do, apart from managing crises, wants to do his five-year term. One of his advisers, between two cafes near the Elysée, raises his hand and mimics a bombardment or a dive attack. “The pension reform, it will tumble, enter the atmosphere like that…” As if the main proposal of Mr. Macron’s presidential campaign was going to clean up the political landscape, dispel the doubts and the fog that hangs over this second term.

Spring 2023, the pension reform has “tumbled”. But she did not restart macronism, nor unravel the thread of this five-year term. The social and political situation is both paralyzed, with a tenth day of mobilization, Tuesday, March 28, and flammable, with increasingly violent clashes between the police and certain opponents.

Like a cluster bomb, the reform above all shattered the last hopes of the “original macronism”, to use the expression of Richard Ferrand, former President of the National Assembly (2018-2022). The 2017 Macron dreamed of systemic pension reform; that of 2022 stalls on a parametric and budgetary reform. The former Minister of the Economy promised disruption by seeking out women and men of good will from all political backgrounds; he has failed for weeks to convince around forty right-wing deputies to vote for his reform and finds himself faced with a fragmented Chamber. The 2017 candidate blackened the pages of his program book Revolution (XO Editions, 2016) to restore hope to those disappointed by the “old parties”, to young people, to abstentionists; here he is forced to cling to the Constitution to use article 49.3 in a vertical act…

“Immaturity of power”

As if the pension reform had formalized the trivialization of macronism, already perceptible during the first five-year term with the right-wing assumed at the time of the European elections of 2019. “I believed in the Macronian project of overtaking in 2017 because it happened after a failed right-left alternation, recalls Jean Garrigues, historian and chairman of the parliamentary and political history committee. We could at that time believe in the emergence of a culture of compromise. This is not at all what happened, even less in 2022, when the political situation demanded it. There is an immaturity of power and political personnel as a whole. »

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