Government of France imposes the pension reform by decree | news today
Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France, declared before the National Assembly that the government’s pension reform will be approved by decree.
Photo: AFP – ALAIN JOCARD
The Government of Emmanuel Macron decided to suspend the vote on the pension reform in the National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) by using article 49.3 of the Constitution. This measure, although it is established in the Magna Carta of France, is considered “illegitimate” by the opposition since it ignores the popular will of the people who have been marching for more than a month against the reform.
It is important to clarify that the Legislative branch of France works bicamerally. Parliament (Congress) is divided into two chambers: the Senate, which corresponds to the Upper House and has already approved the reform; and the National Assembly, the Lower House that should have approved the project.
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For the processing of a law in France, it is necessary that both the Senate and the National Assembly debate its content and finally give legislative support. However, the Government decided to use article 49.3 of the Constitution, a paragraph in which the vote in the Assembly is omitted and a law is established by decree. In other words, Macron and his political cabinet were unaware of whether there was agreement or disagreement within the Legislature and still approved the pension reform.
The bill, which pushes the minimum retirement age from the current 62 to 64, received 193 votes in favor and 114 against, with 38 abstentions in the Senate.
“We cannot place bets on the future of our pensions,” said the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, when activating article 49.3 of the Constitution. Several deputies have already advanced the presentation of a motion of censure against the government, the only way now to prevent the application of the reform.
A risky vote
According to the pronouncements of Macron’s political allies, the government decided to use this measure because it was not clear what the result of the votes in the National Assembly could be.
The newspaper le parisien released the statement of a government official justifying the adoption of article 49.3. The legislator told the French newspaper that “it was a risky vote in the Assembly. We have too much uncertainty. We will not run the risk of putting ourselves in the hands of our political opponents who, however, had committed to the reform”.
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In her statement before the Assembly, Élisabeth Borne assured that “these are advances for those who started working, early, (…) to increase women’s pensions, or to increase small pensions.”
The Head of Government explained that “uncertainty hangs on a few votes […]. We cannot run the risk of seeing 175 hours of parliamentary debate collapse. We cannot run the risk of annulling the compromise reached by the two Assemblies […]. This reform is necessary.”
Motion of no confidence on the way
Marine Le Pen, leader of the French opposition, assured that she will hold a motion of no confidence against the officials who insisted on approving the pension reform by decree.
“It is the confirmation of a total failure” for Macron, added his rival in the ballot box for the last presidential election almost a year ago, who estimated that the situation in France was that of a “political crisis.”
In accordance with the provisions of French law, there is a period of 24 hours in which a motion of censure can be processed by one or more of the members of the political cabinet of the government party. Thus, the Libertades, Independientes, Overseas and Territories (LIOT) group reported that it “will present a transpartisan motion of censure” against the reform. As Bertran Pancher, president of the group, assured, they will carry out this legal tool against a “government incapable of building commitments.”
Paris mobilizes against Macron
More than 1,500 demonstrators gathered in front of the Assembly headquarters just after the announcement of the controversial mechanism, at the request of student organizations. In addition, the unions leading the protest announced that they will intensify their marches and blockades in Paris and other cities.
🛑 The young are heading towards the national assembly!
🎶 “Manu, manu, ta réforme, 49.3 ou pas, on en veut pas!” 🎶 pic.twitter.com/eoidwNby4x
— Syndicat Alternative Paris 1 – SAP1 (@SAParis1_) March 16, 2023
For example, a group of protesters announced via Twitter that they are in front of the Ministry of Culture and have even occupied it. The famous hotel Le Marine also has its access points blocked due to protesters.
News in development…
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