About Article 49.3
(compiled from the two sources listed in this section)
Resorting to Article 49.3 of the Constitution, (Le recours à l’article 49.3 de la constitution). Vie Publique, June 16, 2015.
Article 49.3 Executive Weapon, (L'article 49.3, coup de force de l'exécutif), Le Figaro, February 17, 2015.
Article 49.3 gives the prime minister the possibility, after consultation with the Council of Ministers, to claim the right of the government to pass a bill that is up for a vote in the National Assembly, any bill concerning national finances, the financing of social security, or any other project or proposed law being debated there. It is a “weapon with only one bullet,” as it can only be used once in each legislative session.
The decision of the prime minister to use Article 49.3 leads to the immediate suspension of parliamentary discussion of the laws. The project is considered adopted, without being put to a vote, unless a motion of censure [by the Constitutional Council] is made within twenty-four hours under very precise conditions: the motion to censure has to be approved by a majority vote in the National Assembly.
Resort to Article 49.3 makes parliamentarians uneasy because they see it as an abuse of executive power. In 2006, Francois Hollande, the leader who invoked Article 49.3 in the summer of 2015, declared, “49.3 is an assault on and a denial of democracy. 49.3 is a way of stopping and impeding parliamentary debate.”
At the last moment, the government added an amendment to the bill concerning the management of radioactive waste at Bure, in the Meuse region. This was censured by the Constitutional Council which found it was a legislative rider* that should be presented in a separate bill.
*A rider is an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under the consideration by a legislature, having little connection with the subject matter of the bill. Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its own bill.