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15 Apr, 2023 08:52

Macron signs controversial pension reform into law

The bill spearheaded by the French president raises the retirement age from 62 to 64
Macron signs controversial pension reform into law

French President Emmanuel Macron has signed a bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. The reform has sparked nationwide unrest, with the political opposition and unions vowing continue contesting it.

The amendments were published in France’s Official Journal early on Saturday.

The Social Security Code is thus amended... In the first paragraph, the word: ‘sixty-two’ is replaced by the word: ‘sixty-four’,” the statement reads.

The retirement age will be incrementally raised by three months at a time, starting from September, until it reaches 64 in September 2030.

On Friday, France’s highest constitutional authority gave the green light to most of the amendments proposed by the president. The Constitutional Council also shot down a request for a referendum, filed by left-wing politicians.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne described the decision on Friday as the “end of the institutional and democratic journey.

The opposition and unions, however, refused to back down, with a decision on a second request for a plebiscite expected early next month.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally, predicted that the signing of the bill would “mark the final break between the French people and Emmanuel Macron.

That sentiment was echoed by the First Secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, who expressed doubt as to whether the president “will be able to govern” after his decision. Faure also pledged to “continue democratic harassment to roll back the president and his government.

Veteran left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon called for unity among those opposing the reform, and denounced France’s trajectory toward a “presidential monarchy.

Meanwhile, unions have called on the French to rally on May 1 as part of “exceptional and popular mobilization.

Ahead of the Council’s decision, hundreds of thousands of protesters poured onto the streets of French cities and towns on Thursday.

In Paris, rioters vandalized several buildings, with police bludgeoning protesters with batons and firing tear gas into the crowds.

President Macron insists that the reform is necessary to prop up France’s ailing retirement system.

However, much of the French public has objected to the amendments being rammed through by Macron without allowing a vote in the lower House of Parliament. Opposition legislators twice tabled no-confidence motions against the government, ultimately losing both.