Pension protests continue in France ahead of no-confidence votes — Explained

Protests continued in France on Sunday over What  pension reforms with President Emanuel Macron’s government set to face no-confidence motions in the National Assembly on Monday. Thousands have taken to the streets of Paris in the past week over the government’s decision to raise the state pension age without a parliamentary vote. Multiple refinery strikes are also taking place across France.

The upper house of Parliament, the Senate, approved the Bill on Thursday morning. But the more powerful National Assembly — where Macron’s party and its allies hold only a slim majority — did not have enough votes to pass the Bill.

What does the change to pension rules entail?

The official retirement age is being raised from 62 to 64 and increases the number of years people must pay into the system to receive a full pension. The change will be gradual with the retirement age increasing by three months each year, starting from September until 2030.

Macron has argued that requiring people in France to work two more years is needed to invigorate the country’s economy and to prevent its pension system from falling into a deficit as the population ages.

What exactly has the Macron government done?

The Emmanuel Macron-led administration recently pushed the highly controversial bill through by invoking a special constitutional power. The decision was taken without a vote of lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday, prompting an outcry from Opposition leaders. 

It is pertinent to note here that President Macron’s camp has no absolute majority in the lower house National Assembly.

What has been the response from protesters and Opposition leaders?

The protests have grown tense amid widespread anger among the populace, with thousands taking to the streets of Paris to oppose the reform.

any angry protesters lit small fires and clashed with police clad in riot gear at the Place de la Concorde in central Paris on Thursday. There are now mounting trash piles on Paris’ streets as a result of refuse workers joining in the action. Dozens of people have also been arrested in connection with the clashes.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly is due to vote on no-confidence motions filed after Macron’s government bypassed parliament to push through the unpopular rise in the state pension age.

(With inputs from agencies)

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