Double setback for left-wing oppositions and trade unions: in addition to validating the postponement of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, the Constitutional Council also rejected a first proposal for a shared initiative referendum (RIP) . This referendum bill, in which the left placed a lot of hopes, aimed to impose that the legal age of departure “cannot be set beyond 62 years”.
Thursday evening, without waiting for the sages to deliver their verdict, the socialist, environmentalist and communist senators as well as the deputies of the Nupes presented a new request for RIP, aware of the “legal weaknesses” of their first version.
The left-wing parliamentarians indeed foresaw the decision of the wise men who, in their decision, underlined that the first proposal “did not involve any state of change in the law and (could not) be analyzed as a reform” in the sense provided for by the 1st paragraph of article 11 of the Constitution. In fact, the postponement of the legal retirement age to 64 years having not yet been promulgated at the time of the referral to the Constitutional Council, this RIP amounted to maintaining the limit of 62 years which prevails today. “There was no change in the rule of law,” insists Rue de Montpensier, seat of the Constitutional Council.
Heard on April 4, the applicants led by PS Senator Patrick Kanner had pleaded for an extensive interpretation of the term “reform”. The promoters of the measure do not fail to recall that the Constitutional Council had ruled, in 2019, that the RIP against the privatization of ADP (Airports of Paris) was indeed “the economic policy of the nation”. “Nevertheless, it was a question of transforming ADP into a national public service: the wise men judged that it was therefore a question of a reform”, we explain on the side of the Constitutional Council.
This is why, in their second attempt to prohibit a legal retirement age above 62, the left-wing elected representatives incorporated an article 2 providing for “securing the financing of the pay-as-you-go pension” through “taxes on capital gains on securities, redemptions of shares and dividends”.
Last October, the sages rejected a RIP proposal instituting a tax on super-profits. “This was too quickly understood as the fact that it (the Constitutional Council) excluded taxation from the field of possible reforms, explains Rue de Montpensier. But this is not true: he only considered that this tax, temporary and limited to a few companies, did not change the state of the law. »
This interpretation of the October decision can therefore give hope to left-wing parliamentarians who, in their new proposal, indeed call for an in-depth modification of the financing of pensions, hitherto essentially based on income from work.
In the event of validation by the Council, which must decide on May 3, an unprecedented sequence of nine months would then open where opponents of the executive pension reform project would fight the campaign to collect the threshold of 4.9 million (10% of the electorate) of signatures prior to a possible referendum. Then, after verification of the validity of these signatures by the Constitutional Council, Parliament would still have six months to examine the referendum bill. Failing that, a referendum should be organised.
Nine months of referendum campaign, then six months of parliamentary debates, that would project us into September 2024. “Everyone will have their eyes riveted on the presidential election, predicts political scientist Bruno Cautrès, researcher at Cevipof. The law will have been enacted nearly a year and a half ago, since the RIP has no suspensive effect. Suffice to say that it will have entered the daily life of the French. »