France’s senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition, has voted to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, a key provision of a controversial reform that French President Emmanuel Macron wants to push through and has been the subject of mass protests.
According to the French news agency AFP, the senate’s green light to raise the retirement age is a victory for the executive branch, which wants to speed up the adoption of the pension reform in parliament, but at the same time avoid using an article of the constitution that allows the adoption of legislation without a vote in parliament.
“I am glad that the debates made this vote possible,” it is tweeted Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. In the Senate, it is in favor voted 201 senators, 115 of them were against.
In the National Assembly, where the government has a relative majority, raising the retirement age could not be discussed at all because of the opposition, as well as the very busy schedule of debates set by the government.
The government hopes that the Senate will be on part of the legislation voted until the deadline that she herself set for Sunday expires. In this case, a joint committee of senators and deputies will meet to try to reach an agreement on the entire pension reform, which could then be adopted on March 16, reports AFP.
Millions of French in rallies and strikes
The reform has upset unions and workers from day one. At the protests and strikes that have been going on since 19 in January, millions of French people participated. The last mass protests against the pension reform took place in France on Tuesday, the next ones are announced for Saturday.
Despite the protests, the government insists on the reform, saying that without it the pension system would collapse. The pension reform was also one of the central pre-election promises of President Emmanuel Macron. They tried to soften the criticism by promising to increase the minimum guaranteed pension to 1,200 euros, as well as allowances for pensioners with health problems and those who performed physically demanding jobs. The opposition accuses them of merely “candies” to no real effect.