France: Macron pushes through pension reform – bypassing Parliament

As of: 03/16/2023 4:06 p.m

After weeks of protests, the National Assembly is due to decide on the planned pension reform today. But the Macron government decided to pass it through parliament – and thus accepted a vote of no confidence.

France’s government pushed the controversial pension reform through parliament without a final vote. She decided to implement President Emmanuel Macron’s most important reform project with a special article in the constitution without a vote in the National Assembly. However, it is to be feared that opponents of the reform will file a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s government. If the government survives this, the pension reform will be considered adopted.

The opposition criticized Macron’s actions as “brutal”. Borne defended the reform and the use of constitutional paragraph 49.3 in the session – and was booed for it. Accompanied by loud protests from the opposition, she said: “This reform is necessary.”

Text should be in the National Assembly today

The final text of the law should actually pass both chambers of parliament today. The law had already been passed in the Senate. However, it was not taken for granted that the government would get the necessary majority for the reform in the National Assembly in the afternoon, which is intended to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron’s alliance does not have a majority there and is dependent on votes from conservatives. Left and right MPs are clearly against the bill.

Macron and his prime minister have repeatedly emphasized that they want to bring the law to a vote. Applying Article 49.3 to such a key social reform is, in the eyes of many French people, inappropriate and would seriously damage the government’s image.

With information from Julia Borutta and Stefanie Markert, ARD Studio Paris

Booing for Prime Minister Borne: Pension reform passed without a vote with Article 49.3

Stefanie Markert, ARD Paris, March 16, 2023 3:45 p.m

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