The Senate began the long-awaited examination of the article raising the retirement age to 64, Tuesday, March 7, at the very end of the afternoon.
By JLB with AFP
Lhe very strong mobilization of the French on this sixth day of strike did not get the better of the senators. On the contrary. Dominated by the right, the Palais Bourbon decided on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday March 8 to use an article of its internal regulations to accelerate the discussion on the pivotal article of the pension reform raising the retirement age to 64 years, despite the outcry of the left which ended up leaving the hemicycle.
The right initially used an article of the internal regulations to cut short the debate, before adopting an amendment to “rewrite” this article 7 which caused the majority of the left amendments to be dropped.
The “closing of the debates”, provided for by article 38 of the regulations, was proposed by the president of the group Les Républicains, Bruno Retailleau, on the series of amendments aimed at the deletion of article 7 carried by the left. It was voted on by a show of hands despite the outcry of left-wing senators.
This is the first time that article 38 of the rules of the Senate has been used since its revision in 2015. It can apply to speaking on an article, explanations of vote on an amendment or on an article, or even explanations vote on an entire text.
“An attack on democracy”
“This recourse to this procedure is an act of weakness on the part of the senatorial right”, reacted the president of the CRCE group with a communist majority, Eliane Assassi, denouncing “a coup de force”, “an attack against democracy and the rights of Parliament”. “It’s not worthy of the Senate,” she said. “Shame on you”, “It’s a scandal”, added the leader of the Socialist senators, Patrick Kanner.
“A historic day of mobilization, on article 7, the most important, you decide to gag Parliament, to censure the Senate”, further accused the president of the environmental group Guillaume Gontard.
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“It’s been 5 days and 5 nights that we have been dealing with an obstruction”, pleaded for his part Bruno Retailleau, for whom “the obstruction is to Parliament what desertion is to a soldier”.
“We had 124 interventions on this article as it stands, I consider that the requirements of clarity and sincerity have been respected”, declared the President of the Senate Gérard Larcher (LR).
The Senate immediately rejected some 70 amendments tabled by the left asking for the deletion of Article 7, by 225 votes “against” and 115 “for”.
The left upwind
After three adjournments, the Senate then voted at 3:30 a.m., in the absence of the three left-wing groups, on an amendment to “rewrite” this article proposed by the rapporteur LR René-Paul Savary, who does not does not change the background. But its adoption caused more than 1,100 amendments to “fall”.
“We will still have a rich debate on this article 7”, assured René-Paul Savary, 75 amendments remaining to be examined.
The left did try to counterattack by presenting a thick bundle of sub-amendments, which were declared “inadmissible”. “I’m the one presiding!” “, must have thundered Gérard Larcher to interrupt the bronca of the left who shouted “DIY”.
Discussions on Article 7 will resume on Wednesday afternoon. The senatorial majority aims to go through with the text and the final vote by the deadline of Sunday midnight.