Paris – French deputies were left yesterday at the gates of overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and her unpopular pension reform, whose adoption by decree intensified protests called to continue.
Liberal President Emmanuel Macron managed to definitively validate his project to toughen access to a full pension, but the government of his prime minister emerged weakened from this tussle.
“Only nine votes were missing to bring down this government and its reform, a government that is already dead for the French and that no longer has any legitimacy,” said radical left lawmaker Mathilde Panot.
The vote in the National Assembly (lower house) was tighter than expected. The motion presented by the independent group LIOT received 278 votes out of the 287 required. The one presented by the extreme right, 94.
The fall of the motions ends the parliamentary saga of the reform, which delays the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030 and requires from 2027 to contribute 43 years (and not 42) to collect a full pension.
However, the political opposition is not throwing in the towel. This has already announced appeals before the Constitutional Council to stop its application and also promote a referendum.
The unions also called for a new day of massive demonstrations next Thursday, while the opposition settles in the country, between spontaneous protests and extendable strikes in key sectors.
Roads blocked, transportation disrupted, the Tarbes-Lourdes airport (south) invaded, thousands of tons of garbage on the streets of Paris, lack of fuel in the southeast. The strikers multiplied the protest actions.
After learning of the failure of the two motions of censure, protests against the reform resumed in the streets of Paris and other cities, which have become harsher in recent days, with clashes with the police, the burning of garbage or the breaking of shop windows.
The trigger for these demonstrations was Macron’s decision on Thursday to adopt his project by decree fearing a defeat in Parliament, in a context of rejection by unions and two out of three French citizens, according to polls.
The unions had warned of a radicalization of the protests, beyond their control, if the government did not back down, after registering the most massive demonstrations against a social reform in three decades.
The president, who is not affected by the motion of no confidence, is risking being able to apply the program for his second term until 2027. On Sunday, through his entourage, he assured that he would go all the way with his pension project.
But observers estimated that the government would achieve a Pyrrhic victory. The use of 49.3 “will make it difficult to adopt future reforms,” warned the rating agency Moody’s, which favors this type of law.
All eyes are on what will happen to its prime minister, who already said this Monday “determined to continue bringing the necessary transformations.”
Nineteen of the 61 deputies from the right-wing opposition group Los Republicanos (LR), with whom the government usually reaches the majorities necessary for its laws, voted in favor of overthrowing him.