A bill to force the Prime Minister to a vote of confidence

The president of the Liot group in the National Assembly, Bertrand Pancher, intends to table a bill aiming to include the obligation for a Prime Minister to use a vote of confidence, whatever the composition of Parliament.

A bill to force the Prime Minister to a vote of confidence

The president of the Liot group in the National Assembly, Bertrand Pancher, intends to table a bill aiming to include the obligation for a Prime Minister to use a vote of confidence, whatever the composition of Parliament.

It had been expected for weeks, but Gabriel Attal's general policy speech did not make a good impression on the political class on Tuesday January 30. Confirming, if it was still necessary, the turn to the right taken by the head of state and the government, it did not arouse the joy of the Republicans. As for the left, it pointed out this right-wing denouncing an “uninhibited Sarkozyism” for the socialists and the “most reactionary speech in a century” for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Reactions which reflect the disappointment or bitterness of political forces at the announcement of the government's course and which reinforce anger at the Prime Minister's decision to evade the traditional, but not obligatory, vote of confidence before the Assembly national.

The left, irritated by this choice, decided to table a motion of censure on Tuesday afternoon. La France insoumise, which was the first to announce the use of such a procedure, wishes to make the text a “motion of no confidence”. The text which must be voted on this Thursday, February 1, however, has little chance of being adopted and overthrowing the government, but in principle the left is united in pointing the finger at the executive. On the side of the Liot group, also annoyed, we instead intend to change habits and make the vote of confidence compulsory.

Bertrand Pancher, president of the Liot group in the National Assembly, plans to table a proposed constitutional law (PPLC) to force any new Prime Minister “to hold the government accountable for its program before the National Assembly,” reports Politico . If the PPLC is supported by the twenty or so Liot deputies, Bertrand Pancher also hopes to find support from other political groups, in particular those who rush to the motions of censure, like the left-wing forces. By becoming transpartisan, the proposed constitutional law could increase its chances of being adopted. According to Politico, environmentalist deputies, including Julien Bayou, have already put their signature on the text.

But to claim the inclusion of the obligation to use the vote of confidence in the Constitution, the path is strewn with pitfalls. First, the PPLC must be voted on in identical terms and to the comma in the National Assembly and the Senate, according to article 89 of the Constitution. Then, since the text is of parliamentary origin - unlike a draft constitutional law which emanates from the government - it must be submitted to a referendum, unless the President of the Republic decides to submit it to Parliament meeting in Congress. In the first case the text must be voted on by an absolute majority, in the second it must be adopted by a three-fifths majority of the votes cast. A whole legislative process which makes the chances of success rather slim.

Gabriel Attal is not the first head of government to rule out the use of a vote of confidence. Her predecessor, Elisabeth Borne, made the same choice during her appointment to Matignon in 2021. In both cases, it was the absence of an absolute majority held by the presidential camp which motivated the Prime Ministers' decision. Without the guarantee of having more than half of the tracks on their side, the risk of seeing the government overthrown is too great. And in fact, when the executive can only count on a relative majority, the vote of confidence often goes by the wayside: Georges Pompidou in 1966, Maurice Couve de Murville in 1968, Pierre Messmer in 1972, Raymond Barre in 1976, Michel Rocard in 1988, Édith Cresson in 1991, Pierre Bérégovoy in 1992, Élisabeth Borne in 2022 and now Gabriel Attal in 2024.

NEXT NEWS