The “bypass” for the pension “burns” Macron – Political crisis in France

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He is facing one of the most important crises French President Emmanuel Macron, following his decision to promote – bypassing Parliament – ​​the changes to the pension system by increasing the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

Chaos prevailed inside and outside parliament on Thursday as, fearing the bill would be rejected by the National Assembly, French President proceeded to a “bypass” by deciding to ratify the reform by presidential decreeinvoking Article 49.3 of the French constitution which allows a bill to be passed without a vote.

The opposition responds with a motion of censure

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His move, while ensuring that the pension changes will become law, has sparked a new storm of reactions with the opposition speaking of a “parliamentary coup” and announcing that it will move forward with a motion of impeachment against the government.

Most Emmanuel Macron is facing the risk of even the fall of his governmentas despite the “massage” that preceded it and the individual changes, he did not manage to gather the necessary votes of the conservative MPs to ensure the approval of the controversial bill.

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Political analysts, although they estimate that it will be difficult to pass a motion of censure, do not rule out a surprise that could arise from a heterogeneous alliance of MPs from all political wings, from the extreme left to the extreme right.

Of particular concern in the ranks of the French government is the fact that although the leaders of the conservative Les Republicains party rule out such an alliance, there are several members of the party who do not rule out moving “outside the line”. In order to pass the motion of no confidence, it must be upvoted by all the opposition MPs and half the MPs of the Les Republicains party. In any case, the blow to the government and the French President is great.

Rage in the streets, “fire” from the press

The French press unleashed fierce criticism characterizing Macron’s decision as a “confession of weakness”, “failure”, “hypocrisy” etc., while angry riots and mass demonstrations broke out in the streets. Criticism is also spreading in the international media. “The pension clash reveals a weakened and more isolated Macron,” writes the New York Times. “This reform will continue to burden the country for a long time,” notes Die Zeit.

The unions are calling for an escalation of the mobilizations, while the leader of the Left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said that he “supports and encourages citizens to take to the streets”. THE government insists that the reform is necessary to prevent the collapse of the pension system, but without convincing the majority of French people. More than 8 in 10 citizens express their dissatisfaction with the government’s plans and the decision to bypass the vote in parliament. 65% say they want strikes and protests to continue.

The message sent by the alliance of France’s main unions is that the mobilizations will continue with the aim of forcing the government to make key changes. Thursday’s riotous protests were reminiscent of the “Yellow Vest” protests that erupted in late 2018 over high fuel prices, forcing Macron into a partial retreat. A total of 310 people were arrested on Thursday, in France, of which 258 in Paris.

Le Pen won?

Marie Le Pen in a pre-election speech in Avignon

According to analysts, “winners” from the developments could be the extreme right, as its leader Marine Le Pen starred in the chaotic session of the parliament. A government source, commenting on the developments to Reuters, admitted that Le Pen had emerged as the strongest political opponent, as the Left tried to block the bill with a raft of amendments and there were disagreements on the centre-right over her final stance.

Le Pen was also the one who raised the first issue for a motion of censure against the government citing a “parliamentary coup”, with political analysts arguing that “she played her card well” and can benefit from the climate that has been created. “There is all the evidence for a strengthening of the extreme right,” Bruno Pallier, a political scientist at the French Sciences-Po university, told Reuters, referring to what happened in the US with the election of Donald Trump and in Britain with Brexit.

“Marine Le Pen is ready for her ambush,” worried Laurent Berger, head of the moderate CFDT union, said on Thursday. “The discontent, the social costs that are created, are going to be exploited by the populists and the extreme right. It’s scary,” he noted, speaking to Reuters.

Macron’s next moves

Political analysts report that now Macron will seek to turn the page quickly, with government officials already preparing more pro-social reforms. However, it is estimated that the French President can now do little – through parliament – to calm the anger in the streets. According to Reuters, the possibility of removing Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne, who failed to create the right parliamentary environment to pass pension reform, cannot be ruled out.

“Let us destroy what destroys us”, was one of the slogans the protesters wrote on walls. The spontaneous angry demonstration on Thursday afternoon, shortly after Macron decided to bypass parliament, took place in Paris’ Place de la Concorde across from the National Assembly. “The symbolism was strong: It was where the guillotine was set up for Louis XVI 230 years ago”Reuters comments in a report.

Source: News Beast

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