« On Thursday, locals in Paris shared their opinions on the French government’s repeated use of Article 49.3.
Article 49.3 of the French Constitution allows the government to pass a bill without needing a vote in the lower house of Parliament, also known as the National Assembly. However, enacting this clause carries the risk of a vote of no confidence.
« The 49.3 is in the Constitution, so a priori its use is constitutional and legal. But at the same time, there are circumstances in which the government abuses it. I can’t say whether this is the case at the moment for the budget vote, but it was clearly the case for the vote on pension reform, where 49.3 allowed the government to push through the reform without going through parliament. So this use is both legal and abusive, » said a local.
Another local held a different perspective, asserting that Article 49.3 is not just a symbolic provision; it is a part of the constitution with a clear purpose. According to this resident, its intended use is in situations where there is no clear majority in parliament. Therefore, employing Article 49.3 is not undemocratic but rather a way to ensure that if there isn’t a significant majority against a proposed law, it can proceed. This individual commended its use when necessary and saw no inherent issue with it.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s minority government recently turned to this measure once again to advance its 2024 budget bill and mid-term fiscal proposals, as it failed to secure the support of opposition legislators, according to local sources.
The use of Article 49.3 earlier this year, about raising the retirement age, resulted in violent protests in certain instances against the French government and President Macron. »