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French pension reform: Government survives two no-confidence votes after push to raise retirement

France's government is fighting for its survival against no-confidence motions filed by lawmakers furious at President Macron's pension reforms
France's government is fighting for its survival against no-confidence motions filed by lawmakers furious at President Macron's pension reforms Copyright Lewis Joly/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Lewis Joly/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Mark Armstrong with AP, AFP
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The French government has survived two no-confidence votes in the lower chamber of parliament after its push last week to raise the retirement age to 64

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The French government has survived two no-confidence votes in the lower chamber of parliament after its push last week to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

The first no-confidence motion, filed by a small centrist group and supported by a leftist coalition, received 278 votes on Monday, falling short of the 287 needed to pass.

A second no-confidence motion, tabled by Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party, also failed, picking up just 94 votes.

If any had been successful, President Emmanuel Macron would have had to name a new government or call new elections.

But as it stands his pension reforms will be considered adopted. 

Some lawmakers and many workers are furious that Macron ordered the use of special constitutional powers to force through such an unpopular bill without giving them a vote.

Centrist lawmaker Charles de Courson, who with his group introduced the motion supported by the left, deplored the government's decision to use a special constitutional power to skirt a vote on the pension bill last week.

“How can we accept such contempt for parliament? How can we accept such conditions to examine a text which will have lasting effects on the lives of millions of our fellow citizens?” he exclaimed.

Hard-left lawmaker Mathilde Panot told the government that “the people are looking at you like we look at someone who betrayed, with a mix of anger and disgust.”

Laure Lavalette, of the far-right National Rally party, said “no matter what the outcome is ... you have failed to convince the French.”

Political tensions have been mirrored on the streets across the country on the emotive issue of pensions. 

There have been widespread protests and strikes across various sectors including transport, energy, health and sanitation. The piles of rubbish in Paris are climbing higher every day and reek of rotten food. 

Unions, demanding that the government simply withdraw the retirement bill, have called for new nationwide protests on Thursday.

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