France: Opposition lawmakers file no confidence motion over pension reforms

Opposition lawmakers in France on Friday (March 17) filed a no-confidence motion against President Emmanuel Macron’s government after it posted the contested pensions reform by decree. Speaking to the news agency AFP, the head of the Liot group Bertrand Pancher said, “The vote on this motion will allow us to get out on top of a deep political crisis.”

A day back, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne used a special procedure to push the pensions bill through the National Assembly without a vote. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, members of parliament, 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,” Prime Minister Borne said on Thursday. 

The pension overhaul raises France’s retirement age by two years to 64, which the government says is essential to ensure the system does not go bust. Unions, and most French, however, disagree. The citizens are deeply attached to keeping the official retirement age at 62, which is among the lowest in OECD countries.

For weeks, protests have been going on to oppose the reform. The demonstrations took a violent turn on Thursday after cars were torched in Paris and other French cities. 

A Toluna Harris Interactive poll for RTL radio showed that more than eight out of 10 people were unhappy with the government’s decision to skip a vote in parliament, and 65 per cent wanted strikes and protests to continue. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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