Two attempts to overthrow French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration in the country’s parliament have failed, paving the way for the implementation of his wildly unpopular pension reforms and igniting fresh demonstrations in Paris.
Last Thursday, the government used special constitutional powers to enact contentious legislation that would raise the retirement age for the majority of workers from 62 to 64. The no-confidence votes that were held on Monday were called by lawmakers who were against the action.
The first motion, which was presented by the small parliamentary group ‘LIOT,’ which is made up of a number of minor parties, was thought to pose the greatest threat to the ruling party. Just nine votes separated it from the 287 majorities needed to pass when it received 278 votes.
Only 94 lawmakers supported the second vote, which the far-right party National Rally put forth last week. The legitimacy crisis that Macron’s presidency and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s cabinet are facing will be made worse by the government’s precarious hold on power.
France Pension Dispute
In order to prevent all or part of the law, the opposition is currently considering making an appeal to France’s Constitutional Council, the highest constitutional body in the nation. Any opposition to the proposal would have a month to be taken into consideration by the council.
In the meantime, public outrage over the reforms doesn’t seem to be abating as demonstrators gathered in central Paris after the elections and got into altercations with the police.
Images and video from unplanned gatherings depict people marching and screaming anti-government anthems, as well as rubbish being set on fire. Police were everywhere in the capital as protesters marched from one spot to another. According to a police source who spoke to CNN, at least 70 people were detained during the rallies on Monday night local time in the city.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, France has one of the lowest retirement ages in the industrialized world and spends more than most other nations on pensions—nearly 14% of economic output. The government claims that the current system is no longer functional because it depends on the working population to support an increasing age group of retirees.
Protesters spontaneously assembled over the weekend in a number of towns to voice their opposition to the reform and the government’s use of constitutional Article 49.3 to pass the law through the National Assembly without a vote, a move that some have criticized as being undemocratic.
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