Decisive day for pension reform in France as Macron pushes for support
France’s deadlock over a bill raising the retirement age is heading for a climax on Thursday, either via a parliamentary vote or a special presidential decision to unilaterally force it through the legislature.
Emmanuel Macron will meet the leaders of the presidential camp to “re-follow” Thursday at midday, before a decisive and uncertain vote on his pension reform.
Macron has promoted pension changes, which will see the retirement age rise from 62 to 64, as central to his vision to make the French economy more competitive.
Unions remained combative on Wednesday night, calling on lawmakers to vote against the plan and denouncing the government’s legal shortcuts to push the bill forward as a dangerous “denial of democracy”.
Garbage collectors are maintaining their strikes, while students plan to march on the lower house of parliament as opponents of the bill pressure the government to drop it. Nearly 500,000 people demonstrated across the country on Wednesday.
A committee of seven senators and seven National Assembly lawmakers agreed on the final text Wednesday in a closed-door meeting, and a conservative majority in the Senate is expected to approve it.
The plan must pass Thursday afternoon to a vote in the National Assembly, where the situation is more complicated.
Macron’s centrist alliance lost its majority in parliamentary elections last year, forcing the government to rely on votes from conservatives to pass the bill.
Left and far-right lawmakers are strongly opposed and conservatives are split, making the outcome unpredictable.
Macron “wants” a vote to continue in the National Assembly, his office said after a strategic session on Wednesday evening with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the ministers in charge of the bill at the Elysee Palace. .
Still, no firm decision was made during the government talks which continued Thursday morning.
Approval in the National Assembly would give the plan more legitimacy, but rather than face the risk of rejection, Macron could instead use his special constitutional power to force the bill through parliament without a vote.