the Constitutional Council in the role of arbiter

the Constitutional Council in the role of arbiter

Above the heavy entrance door, a sculpted sphinx, which speaks of power, impassiveness and secrecy all at the same time. Then the main staircase, which leads to the deliberations room, on the first floor of the Montpensier wing of the Palais-Royal, where the Constitutional Council settled the day after its creation in 1958. It is in this hushed room, in blue and gold hues, that the president, Laurent Fabius, and the eight members of the institution will deliberate on the delicate pension reform. Before making their decision public on Friday, April 14.

The nine constitutional judges will have to say whether the amending social security financing law for 2023, whose flagship measure (the postponement of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64) crystallizes all the opposition, complies to the Constitution. Eight days ago, left-wing deputies and senators, and deputies from the National Rally (RN), filed three appeals against the text.

These opposition politicians criticize the vehicle chosen by the government for its reform, a bill for the amending financing of social security (PLFSSR), via article 47.1 of the Constitution, which made it possible to examine the text in a time restricted. This was adopted without a vote on March 16, thanks to Article 49.3 of the Constitution. They also accuse the executive of having produced information “insincere” by multiplying the contradictory declarations on several points of the reform, the amount of the minimum pension, in particular.

Read also: Pension reform: five questions to understand the possible censorship on the part of the Constitutional Council

Taking the lead, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, also seized the jurisdiction on this law, “in view of the importance of the reform it carries”, specifies the secretary general of the government, Claire Landais, in a letter addressed to Laurent Fabius, on March 21. The Council must also rule on the admissibility of the request for a shared initiative referendum (RIP) launched by 250 opposition parliamentarians.

Intense pression

The pressure is intense on its nine members, appointed by the President of the Republic and the Presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate. ” A cancellation [de la loi] would offer a way out of the crisis for everyone,” wants to believe – and he is not the only one – the deputy (Socialist Party, PS) Boris Vallaud, according to whom this decision also includes a “existential dimension” for the institution of the Palais-Royal.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The “pause” in pension reform could come from the Constitutional Council

In 2006, it had been subjected to similar pressure, while the demonstrations hardened against the law on equal opportunities and the first employment contract (CPE) of Dominique de Villepin. The Council had declared the text in conformity with the Constitution, “while it could have helped the government that we censored it”, recognizes today the sociologist Dominique Schnapper, who participated in the deliberation. Stuck, Jacques Chirac had promulgated the law in stride but demanded that it not be applied.

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