Total Victory for Macron's unpopular Pension Reform
French President Emmanuel Macron's highly unpopular pension law passed another hurdle after the Constitutional Council rejected the opposition's second proposal to hold a referendum to limit the retirement age to 62, Reuters reported.
Macron has defied fierce union opposition and weeks of sometimes violent protests against his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The pension reform bill was passed on March 16 in the National Assembly (the lower house of the French parliament) without being put to a vote. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne used a special procedure to push through the unpopular bill by invoking a text from the French constitution. Two votes of no confidence in Borne's cabinet followed, which were rejected.
After Macron bypassed parliament, opposition lawmakers twice turned to the Constitutional Council in an attempt to stop the reform. The council had to rule on whether the opposition's request met the legal conditions for holding a referendum.
The first attempt was rejected, in part because the pension law had not yet been passed and the proposed referendum would not change the law.
The Constitutional Council yesterday said the proposed referendum did not meet the legal criteria set out in the Basic Law.
According to Macron, the French must work longer because otherwise the pension budget will be in the red by billions of euros annually by the end of the decade.
French union representatives expect the National Assembly to vote this summer on a bill drawn up by a group of independent MPs and representatives of overseas territories to overturn the government's pension reform. The text of the bill is expected to be presented on June 8. Two days before that, the trade union headquarters intend to hold a new general protest against the pension reform.
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