Protests in France as Macron pushes through pension reforms without a vote


Thousands have taken to the streets in protest in France after President Emmanuel Macron provoked anger on Thursday by pushing through raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.

Facing the loss of a key vote in the National Assembly on Thursday, the head of state said he would use an emergency presidential decree to get what he wanted.

There were boos for Mr Macron’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne as she announced the move in Parliament, saying: “We cannot jeopardize the future of our pension system.”

Thousands of protesters have gathered on the Place de la Concorde in Paris in response to Macron’s move. The police cordoned off the square where a fire and torches were lit.

MEPs from the far-left France Unbowed party sang the national anthem La Marseillaise as Ms Borne struggled to make her voice heard earlier while others held up signs that read ‘Democracy?’

The Senate passed the new law on Thursday morning and Ms Borne was due to announce a vote in the National Assembly in the afternoon, but Mr Macron felt it was too risky.

AFP via Getty Images

Marine Le Pen, the National Assembly MP who came second to Mr Macron in the last two presidential elections, said: “This is a complete failure of the government.”

Calling for a no-confidence vote in the Macron government, Ms Le Pen said it was a “failure of democracy” for the president to use Article 49.3 of the constitution – one that allows laws to pass without a vote.

Charles de Courson, an Independent MP, said: “The government’s use of the 49.3 procedure reflects the failure of this presidential minority.

“Not only are they a minority in the National Assembly, they are a minority across the country, but we live in a democracy.”

And Fabien Roussel, the leader of the Communist Party, said Mr Macron was “not worthy of our Fifth Republic”.

Left-wing MPs hold placards and sing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem


Macron’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age has sparked strikes and violent demonstrations across France.

Striking Paris garbage collectors face jail time if they refuse to clean up the French capital after 8,000 tons of rubbish accumulated.

Police “requisitioned” municipal employees on Thursday, saying they would be prosecuted if they continued their protest against pension reform.

According to polls, more than 70% of the population opposes raising the retirement age and millions have taken part in protests.

Mr Macron’s centrist Renaissance alliance has 250 MPs, so it had to win over opposition politicians to get 289 votes, or convince some to abstain to get a majority.

The president has jeopardized his reformist credentials for pension reform, and failure threatened to make him a lame duck on domestic affairs with four years left in his second term. Protests in France as Macron pushes through pension reforms without a vote

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