The French government forced an increase in the country’s retirement age, without a vote, as a weeks-long protest against the policy continues.
The protests have already included strikes in various industries, including with sanitation workers in Paris, where rubbish has piled up on the streets of the City of Light.
The government has argued that raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 would maintain the solvency of the system.
“The objective is to balance the accounts without raising taxes or cutting pensions. There are several options on the table, but they all include raising the retirement age.” explained government spokesman Olivier Veran in January.
However, after passing the Senate but before the National Assembly had a chance to vote on the measure, French President Emmanuel Macron used a special constitutional power to sign the bill into law immediately. It will come into force at the end of this year.
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“We cannot bet on the future of our pensions. That reform is necessary,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told parliament when announcing the measure.
In response, opposition lawmakers sang the national anthem and held up signs reading “No to 64.”
Macron’s government could soon face a vote of no confidence, which would reverse the change and force the government to resign. However, that is unlikely to happen as the different political factions are unlikely to agree or work together.
Union leaders have responded that Macron’s actions show the policy does not have the necessary votes to pass in the National Assembly and have called for larger protests and strikes in response. In spite of the Economic impact Despite the protests and strikes, the movement still has approximately 67% approval.
According to BBC News, police and large crowds clashed on Thursday at the Place de la Concorde, the largest public square in Paris. After a fire broke out, police used tear gas in an attempt to clear the area and arrested 120 people. However, hundreds remained in the area as night fell.
“I am outraged by what is happening. I feel like they are cheating me as a citizen,” he said. Laure Cartelier, a 55-year-old schoolteacher, according to DW. “In a democracy, it should have happened through a vote.”
with cable news services