From the outset, the oppositions succeeded in rejecting at first reading the “introductory” article of the finance bill (PLF) by 192 votes against 175, in which appeared the key objective of containing the public deficit at 5% of GDP in 2023.

“You have come together Nupes, National Rally, LR, to deprive France of any course,” denounced the Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal.

Shortly before the opening of the session at the Palais Bourbon, the Council of Ministers authorized the government to activate the famous article 49.3, a constitutional weapon which allows a text to be adopted without a vote, except for a motion of censure.

It will only be used “if the situation requires us to use it”, insisted the government spokesman, Olivier Véran, worrying that “opposites are tempted to lead France to blockage”.

LFI deputy Eric Coquerel, chairman of the Finance Committee at the Assembly, immediately denounced a “blackmail at 49.3” in front of the press.

“We already see the sword of Damocles dawning”, added in the hemicycle the deputy Boris Vallaud, leader of the Socialists. “How long do you leave for parliamentary debate?” he asked the government.

“We will take all the time necessary” for an “in-depth debate”, assured the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, even if “there will come a time when there will have to be a budget for France”. According to him, the government will then take “its responsibilities”.

Too expensive for the right, “austerity” for the left, “submissive” to Brussels according to the RN: the oppositions have ruled out supporting this budget, which sets the objective of containing the public deficit at 5% of GDP despite measures such as the “tariff shield” of 45 billion euros to limit increases in regulated gas and electricity prices to 15%.

It also provides for an increase in teachers or the creation of more than 10,000 civil servant posts, including 3,000 police and gendarmes.

If the use of 49.3 now seems certain, the majority is torn between the need to first let the debate take place and that of “shortening the suffering” in the face of opposition who “will vote against everything”.

– Which text subject to 49.3? –

While waiting for the ax to fall, the only relative majority available to the Macronists augurs many defeats on opposition amendments.

“If, within two or three days, we manage to modify your budget, will you respect national representation?” Asked the rebel Alexis Corbière, urging the government to say clearly whether the text it would adopt by 49.3 would take into account the successive votes of the Assembly.

The government has full latitude on this point. “We can return to the initial text, withdraw adopted amendments, include amendments not yet discussed”, recalls a Renaissance parliamentary source.

On Tuesday, the macronists had already had a foretaste of the risks that the absence of an absolute majority poses to them, with the unraveling by the oppositions of another budgetary text.

Several key articles of the 2023-2027 budget planning law were indeed rejected at first reading by the opposition, hostile to the text for often diametrically different reasons.

If the majority had succeeded in bringing the deficit reduction trajectory below 3% by 2027, it had then suffered a series of defeats.

Among the rejected articles: the one which fixed the stability of the civil service workforce over the five-year period and another fixing the budgets allocated to the missions of the State, then three others concerning the local authorities.