Pensions reform: ‘The negative impact of 49.3 is far from anecdotal’


IThe commitment of Elizabeth Bourne, with the responsibility of her Government, on March 16, 2023, to adopt the Pension Reform Bill constitutes the hundredth use of Article 49 Paragraph 3 of the Constitution since the beginning of the Fifth.H Republic.

Read also decoding: The material is reserved for our subscribers Pension reform: Macron justifies 49.3 by invoking “very high financial risks”

The various current oppositions, despite their divisions, condemn with one voice democratic denial, although those formerly in power have also used it, sometimes extensively. The content opposition often goes hand in hand with the action opposition. And many of them, too, like CFDT leader Laurent Berger, fear that A.J “democratic deputy”And ” dangerous “does not cause violence because “discontent” And from here “anger” experienced. But beyond the rhetoric of political and trade union leaders, how do citizens react to 49.3? Is the executive at risk of punishment in public opinion?

a research A study of the overall popularity of prime ministers between January 1979 and July 2008 concluded that utilization of 49.3 was associated with a significant decrease in prime minister approval. Far from being anecdotal, the negative impact of 49.3 is comparable to the impact associated with a one-point drop in GDP.

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basic logic

Based on four online trials, between 2016 and 2019, conducted on several representative samples (including up to 19,000 respondents in France), and another A study published in 2022 byAmerican Journal of Political Science He asserts that, with a standing bill, citizens rate negatively (on average by 16%) the executive whose bill was adopted based on 49.3 rather than being voted on by a parliamentary majority. In the case of recourse to 49.3, the consent of the executive branch falls between the opponents of the government or the law adopted, but also among the supporters. According to the study, the preferences, in terms of the legislative content on the one hand, and the legislative procedure on the other hand, are differentiated: it is not enough to agree with the text to accept the way it was suddenly adopted.

However, the use contexts of 49.3 should not be neglected. When the government’s responsibility in the face of a parliamentary filibuster is invoked, the opposition only sees this as an additional reason for refusal.

Read also: The material is reserved for our subscribers 49.3 for pensions: “shame”, “scandal”, “resignation” … in the National Assembly, the rebellious bicycle

But when there is uncertainty about a parliamentary majority or when mass public demonstrations are taking place, the use of 49.3 is objectionable by all electoral sectors. Its use appears to appear in the eyes of the citizenry as a break with the majority rule in the legislative process of representative democracies. Logically speaking, from this perspective, the use of 49.3 significantly deteriorates citizens’ assessment of the performance of democracy, whether or not they support the content of the adopted law. This deterioration is the main reason for their decline in satisfaction with the executive authority.

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