French Senate adopts Macron’s unpopular pension reform

The French Senate has passed President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reform plan, which includes raising the retirement age by two years to 64. The upper house of the French Parliament voted on the text after a seventh day of nationwide demonstrations against the plan. A total of 195 senators voted for the bill, with 112 against.
Following the vote, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said that an important stage has been passed and that she believed the government had a parliamentary majority to pass the reforms into law. A committee will now draft a final version of the bill, which will then be submitted to both houses of parliament for a final vote.

If Macron’s government fails to assemble a majority ahead of the vote, Borne could use a rarely used constitutional tool, known as article 49/3, to push the legislation through without a vote. Unions, which have fiercely opposed the measures, had hoped to force Macron to back down. However, the protests against the reform were smaller than previous ones, with 368,000 demonstrators marching through various cities on Saturday, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.
Tensions flared on Saturday evening, with Paris police saying they had made 32 arrests after some protesters threw objects at security forces, with rubbish bins burned and windows broken. In a joint statement, the French unions called on the government to organize a “citizens’ consultation” as soon as possible. The unions plan to keep up the pressure with an additional day of nationwide strikes and protests scheduled for Wednesday.
Marylise Leon, deputy leader of the CFDT union, said, “This is the final stretch. A lot of things can still happen next week. Will the text be voted in the National Assembly? We have to rally. It’s now or never.”

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