French gov't adopts pension reform without vote
STORY: French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne met boos, jeers and lawmakers holding signs of protest, as she told the National Assembly that she would skip a vote on an unpopular pensions bill... and force it through.
The session was suspended for two minutes after left-wing lawmakers singing the national anthem prevented Borne from speaking.
And protesters gathered outside.
But in the end Borne invoked article 49.3 of the constitution to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
The government says it's essential to ensure the pension system does not go bust.
According to a source present at a last-minute meeting, President Emmanuel Macron told Borne and others he had wanted to go for a vote… but considered the financial and economic risks of the bill being voted down too great.
Here’s Borne announcing the move:
"...Today, on the parliament bill, and due to the uncertainty hanging over a few votes, we can't take the risk of seeing 175 hours of parliamentary debate collapse, we can't take the risk of seeing the compromise built by the two assemblies dismissed. We cannot bet on the future of our pensions. This reform is necessary.”
Pushing the bill through – after weeks of protests and fractious debate – shows that Macron, a centrist, and his government failed to garner a majority in parliament.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Borne should resign.
There have been weeks of rolling strikes and massive protests in Paris and beyond… with trash piling up in the streets…
Opinion polls show a vast majority of voters oppose the pension reform. Trade unions say there are other ways to balance the books, like taxing the wealthy more.
Thursday's move is likely to add fuel to the fire - enraging unions, protesters and left-wing opposition parties who say the pension overhaul is unfair and unnecessary.