‘Weakened’ Macron sticks with pension bill, eyes new reforms
Members of parliament of the left hold placards after the result of the vote on the first motion of no-confidence against the French government, tabled by centrist group Liot, after the use by French government of the article 49.3, a special clause in the French Constitution, to push the pensions reform bill through the National Assembly without a vote by lawmakers, at the National Assembly in Paris, France, March 20, 2023 - REUTERS
As his parliament narrowly escaped a no-confidence motion on Monday over an unpopular pension package, French President Emmanuel Macron is attempting to retake the initiative with additional changes in the coming weeks, a source said.
Since the “Yellow Vest” uprising four years ago, violent protests and rolling strikes have posed the most significant threat to the centrist president’s authority. Even inside Macron’s own team have urged him against carrying on as usual.
“We are all weakened. The president, the government and the majority,” a senior MP in Macron’s camp, Gilles Le Gendre, told Liberation newspaper. “It’s not because the law was adopted that we can do business as usual.”
Another MP in Macron’s camp, Patrick Vignal, bluntly urged the president to suspend the pension reform bill, which will raise the retirement age by two years to 64, given the anger it has triggered, and its deep unpopularity.
But Macron does not plan any reshuffle, snap elections or major changes of any sort and has ruled out withdrawing the pension law, the source who took part in meetings between Macron and key allies on Tuesday told Reuters.
He will instead try and use a TV interview on Wednesday to “calm things down” and will plan reforms for the rest of his mandate, the source said.