Paris French opposition forces have failed in their attempt to overthrow the government with two votes of no confidence and thus still prevent the controversial pension reform. After months of dispute, the reform in France is now officially a done deal. In the first vote in Parliament on Monday evening, 278 MPs voted no confidence in the center government. However, the absolute majority of 287 votes was not achieved. Only 94 deputies voted for the second motion of no confidence, submitted by the right-wing nationalists.
The reform to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is considered one of President Emmanuel Macron’s most important projects. There have been repeated strikes and violent protests against the reform in France for weeks.
Currently, the retirement age in France is 62 years. In fact, retirement begins later on average: those who have not paid in long enough to receive a full pension work longer. At the age of 67 there is then a pension without a deduction, regardless of the payment period – the government wants to keep this, even if the number of payment years required for a full pension is to increase more quickly. She wants to increase the monthly minimum pension to around 1,200 euros. With the reform, the government wants to close an impending gap in the pension fund.
Last Thursday, after weeks of heated debates, the two chambers of parliament were to finally vote on the reform. The Senate approved the project. However, a green light from the National Assembly, where the government does not have an absolute majority, seemed uncertain. She therefore decided at the last minute to quash the reform with a special article in the constitution without a vote by the National Assembly. The opposition then submitted two motions of no confidence. The anger of many French people about the government’s actions, which were criticized as undemocratic, erupted in spontaneous and sometimes violent protests.
It is expected that left and right-wing nationalists will appeal to the Constitutional Council on Tuesday in the dispute over the reform. They want to have the government’s actions checked there, which shortened the debate time for the reform in Parliament through an accelerated procedure and included the reform in a budget text. In addition, the left want to try to prevent the reform with a referendum. Further strikes and protests against the reform are already planned for Thursday.
More: Macron pushes pension reform past Parliament – and risks political crisis