December 9, 2023

PARIS (AP) — France’s Constitutional Council on Friday permitted an unpopular plan to boost the retirement age from 62 to 64, in a victory for President Emmanuel Macron after three months of mass protests over the laws which have broken his management.

The transfer threatened to enrage unions and different critics of the pension plan, together with protesters gathered in spots round France on Friday night as the choice got here down. Macron’s political opponents vowed to keep up strain on the federal government to withdraw the invoice.

The council rejected another measures within the pension invoice, however the increased age was central to Macron’s plan and the goal of protesters’ anger.

Macron can enact the invoice inside 15 days.

In a separate however associated resolution, the council rejected a request by left-wing lawmakers to permit for a attainable referendum on enshrining 62 as the utmost official retirement age. The council will rule on an identical request subsequent month.

Safety forces stood behind a steel fence erected in entrance of the closely guarded Constitutional Council.

As tensions mounted hours earlier than the choice, Macron invited labor unions to satisfy with him on Tuesday “regardless of the resolution by the Constitutional Council,” his workplace mentioned. The president didn’t grant a request final month by unions for a gathering. Unions have been the organizers of 12 nationwide protests since January and have a criticial position in making an attempt to tamp down extreme reactions by protesters.

“The doorways of the Elysee (presidential palace) will stay open, with out situation, for this dialogue,” Macron’s workplace mentioned. There was no rapid response from unions to the invitation.

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The plan to extend the retirement age was meant to be Macron’s showcase measure in his second time period.

The council resolution caps months of tumultuous debates in parliament and fervor within the streets.

Spontaneous demonstrations have been held round France forward of the nine-member council’s ruling. Opponents of the pension reform blockaded entry factors into some cities, together with Rouen within the west or Marseille within the south, slowing or stopping visitors.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne was interrupted whereas visiting a grocery store outdoors Paris by a gaggle of individuals chanting “We don’t need it,” referring to the best way she skirted the vote by lawmakers to advance the pension reform.

The federal government’s resolution to get round a parliamentary vote in March by utilizing particular constitutional powers heightened the fury of the measure’s opponents, in addition to their willpower. One other group awaited Borne within the parking zone.

“We’re in a democracy, so everybody can specific themselves,” the prime minister informed information station BFM TV. “My precedence is to convey calm” and to handle concrete considerations, she mentioned. She went into the shop to debate anti-inflation measures.

The president’s drive to extend the retirement age has provoked months of labor strikes and protests. Violence by pockets of ultra-left radicals marked the 12 in any other case peaceable nationwide marches that unions organized since January.

Union leaders have mentioned the physique’s choices could be revered. Nevertheless, eight unions despatched a “frequent declaration” to the Constitutional Council spelling out their place.

The leftist CGT union mentioned Friday it had filed “extra exact observations” with the council. The union mentioned the “the federal government hijacked parliamentary process” by wrapping the pension reform plan right into a invoice to finance social safety, thus permitting it to push the measure via with no vote.

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“The Constitutional Council can solely censure this brutal and unjustified reform,” the union mentioned in an announcement.

Unions have vowed to proceed protest actions in an try and get Macron to easily withdraw the measure.

“So long as this reform isn’t withdrawn, the mobilization will proceed in a single kind or one other,” Sophie Binet, the CGT chief mentioned Thursday.

The chief of the reasonable CFDT, Laurent Berger, warned that “there might be repercussions” if the Constitutional Council offers the French authorities a inexperienced mild.

Polls have persistently proven that almost all of French residents are against working two extra years earlier than having the ability to reap pension advantages.

Holding out hope to upend the choice, unions and a few protesters recall parallels with a contested 2006 measure about work contracts for youth that despatched college students, joined by unions, into the streets. That laws had been pushed via parliament with no vote and given the inexperienced mild by the Constitutional Council — solely to be later scrapped to convey calm to the nation.


Observe AP’s protection of the French authorities at